New Mexico AG Chasing Private Landowners

November 3, 2023 By: Spencer Durrant

Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior/Flickr

Land wars in the West will never end, and their most recent episode is playing out in New Mexico. A year ago, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that the public has a right to recreate in streams and rivers, even though a river bed and bank may be privately owned (similar to Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming laws). Now, New Mexico attorney general Raul Torrez is accusing landowners along the Pecos River of not complying with the ruling and allowing the public access to the river.

According to an article from The Independent, “The court found that public easement covers what would be reasonably necessary to use the water itself and that any use of the beds and banks must have minimal impact.”

So, after Torrez heard stories of landowners threatening anglers and boaters with bodily harm (and in some cases, stringing wire across the river), he will press charges against landowners who don’t allow the public access to public waters.

You can read more on the situation here.