New Mexico agencies boost access ahead of hunting season

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico land and wildlife managers have finished work that will result in more access to state trust land for licensed hunters.

The Land Office and the Game and Fish Department made the announcement in time for the start of the deer and elk hunting season, which kicked off this week.

The Game and Fish Department paid the State Land Office $800,000 for an easement that allows access to 13,750 square miles (35,612 square kilometers) of trust land. The agreement included $200,000 worth of projects that ranged from road improvements in Catron County to construction of a new campsite on Chupadera Mesa in Socorro County.

Officials say the two agencies also worked to identify and install signs at 67 spots around New Mexico where hunters can access state trust land. The access points are mapped online.

As for the new camping area, officials say it will provide a new opportunity to camp in one of the largest contiguous areas of state trust land in the state.

The State Land Office in July launched pilot programs for new dispersed camping areas in the White Peak region as well as backpack camping permits for the Luera Mountains. The programs were aimed at people with deer and elk tags to hunt in the two areas. The backpack camping permits were all issued by mid-August, but permits for White Peak are still available.