The Wildlands Project Comes to Hidalgo County (Part 18)

A Country Girl’s Musin’ by Judy Keeler


The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance recently presented a 1500 page proposal to New Mexico State’s Bureau of

The Sky Island Alliance, Nature Conservancy, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance and Wildlands Project affiliation is similar to an intricate puzzle. With your permission, I’ll try to explain the organizations and individuals involved in this collaborative effort - one piece at a time.

Land Management. It would add approximately 4.5 million acres, vastly increasing existing wilderness areas.

The board of directors for the Alliance includes many high-profile individuals; Dave Foreman, Wildlands Project; Todd Schulke, Center for Biological Diversity; Dave Parsons, former head of wolf reintroduction – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Jim Scarantino, Republicans for Environmental Protection; and Jim Baca, former NM State Land Commissioner, Mayor of Albuquerque, and Secretary of the Interior.

For years many of these individuals have been inventorying our state for additional wilderness, indoctrinating the public on the “benefits of wilderness”, establishing working relations with elected officials and litigating endangered species cases that lend support to their efforts.

To assist them in their endeavors, Jessica Pope, former Sierra Club activist who lobbied for additional wilderness in Utah, has recently been named as executive director of the Alliance.

Although the organization claims to be a “citizen’s initiative”, the group has also hired several other activists that successfully lobbied for additional wilderness in their respective states. Once wilderness bills were legislatively approved, it appears they moved on to work their “magic” on the unsuspecting citizens of our state.

Organized and well-funded, the Alliance is a formable force. Support comes from various organizations and businesses, including the New Mexico Sportsmen – Albuquerque; American Planning Association, New Mexico Chapter; Animal Protection of New Mexico; Audubon Society of New Mexico; American Lands; Center for Biological Diversity; Defenders of Wildlife; Endangered Species Coalition; 4 Wheelers for Wilderness; Great Old Broads for Wilderness; National BLM Wilderness Campaign; National Environmental Trusts; National Parks and Conservation Association; Sierra Club, Rio Grande Chapter; Sky Island Alliance; Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance; the Wildlands Project; the Wilderness Society; Trust for Public Land; and the list goes on.

Many of these organizations do not favor the multiple-use concept for federal lands. In fact, many are outspoken opponents of mining, logging, grazing and recreational uses, including hunting.

Politics creates strange bedfellows, and it looks like this is true with the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. How odd an organization claiming to represent New Mexico’s sportsmen would align itself with the Animal Protection of New Mexico since both organizations would appear to be in direct conflict with the other.

Following one of my articles, in which I discussed The Nature Conservancy’s land acquisition program, Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity, recently asked if I was a “conspiracy thinker”.

I explained to Mr. Robinson that I did not believe it was a conspiracy. Instead, I chose to call it a “collaborative effort”.

In the Merriam Webster Dictionary, collaborate is defined as; “to work jointly with others (as in writing a book)”; “to cooperate with an enemy force occupying one’s country”.

Indeed, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance appears to be just such a collaborative effort. Held together and driven by the radical concept of “deep ecology” it appears these organizations would like to impose a “no use” agenda, as called for in the Wildlands Project, on the unsuspecting majority of New Mexicans.

Let’s work together to see it doesn’t happen.

Related Links:

New Mexico Wilderness Alliance:

Coalition for New Mexico Wilderness:

Who we are:

Calendar of Events:


These articles are being published in the Hidalgo Herald, a local newspaper. If you would like a copy of the articles in this format send your request to: Hidalgo County Herald -

Brenda McCalmon, editor
101 East 4th St
Lordsburg, NM 88045
Phone: 505-542-8705
Fax: 505-542-8704

To read the complete set of the "Wildlands Project Comes to Hidalgo County" articles, visit:

If you enjoy the articles and find them educational, please feel free to share them with friends, family and associates.

Judy Keeler, rancher and activist!

Contact: Judy Keeler
Animas, New Mexico

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