It is hard to believe the state ⏤ always in need of revenue ⏤ is intentionally acting to decrease its most dependable revenue stream: tourism. This is unimaginable; the state is acting to purposely lose residents and tourists by condoning and actively perpetuating unsafe public recreational lands.

There clearly has been inadequate consideration of the damaging proposal from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to allow concealed trapping on 95 percent of recreational public lands, which (need we be reminded) draw tourists and residents to New Mexico.

The governor and legislators must be aware that so much of our revenue is generated from tourism that is dependent on safe use of public lands. Isn’t that the state’s implicit promise in ads to attract tourism? And this tourist market can easily turn to enjoying nearby states where public land safety can be expected. Moreover, I would suggest that new residents are strongly attracted here for safe enjoyment of public land recreation.

New Mexico is great, but we should never forget that it’s competing with other states for these new residents and tourists who generate considerable direct and indirect contributions to the state economy. As this public trust is compromised by the state’s direct action to undoubtedly diminish safety, how many residents and what amount of tourism can political leaders claim is unnecessary?

State-endorsed danger to public land use constrains our most reliable revenue from tourism, risks discouraging current and future new residents, reduces state income, and diminishes use of one of the greatest natural resources that any state would desire. I am surprised that New Mexico leaders think we can afford to reject all this.

Finally and importantly, please note that I refrained from even discussing the great harm people and their beloved animal companions incur.

Susan Mertes moved to Santa Fe nine years ago from a career as an attorney and lobbyist in Washington, D.C.

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