Friday, March 25, 2011

Rockhound State Park to CLOSE TO ROCKHOUNDING!!!

This note comes from a Yahoo Rock Collecting Group:

Folks, a management plan is in the works in NM to close Rockhound State Park to rockhounding. Please read the following and respond appropriately.

The proposed plan may be read at the following web site:
http://www.emnrd. state.nm. us/PRD/documents /RockhoundPMPPub licReviewDraftMa rch2011.pdf

But, to save you time, the following is the important part from the proposal about rockhounding:

Rockhound State Park was originally established as a destination for rock collectors. At the time, in 1966, rock collecting was a popular pastime. Visitors were encouraged to visit the Park in order to collect rocks, and were allowed to take home up to 15 pounds of rocks.

Today the Division promotes a respect for the natural environment through interpretive and educational programs. Not only does rock collecting in a public park contradict the principle of natural resource protection.

There is only one state park in the United States that permits rock collecting: Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, which has a 38-acre plowed field set aside for collecting. Nearly all municipal, state, and national parks prohibit the removal of natural artifacts from parks. The practice of rock collecting at the Park would need to comply with NMSA 1978, Section 16-2-32: 

"A person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and shall be sentenced in accordance with the provisions of Section 31-19-1 NMSA 1978: 

A. cut, break, injure, destroy, take or remove a tree, shrub, timber, plant or natural object in any state park and recreation area, except in areas designated by the secretary and permitted by regulations adopted by the secretary, such regulations shall only permit the removal of a tree, shrub, timber, plant or natural object for scientific study or for non-commercial use by an individual as a souvenir, the quantity of material authorized for removal from any area shall be strictly regulated by park personnel in order to minimize resource damage."

If the Division were to continue to allow the public to collect rocks at the Park, the EMNRD Cabinet Secretary would designate a specific area and adopt rules pertaining to the collecting of rocks on Park property (such as the amount and location).

The once popular hobby of rock collecting has declined significantly since the 1960s. There are local businesses that cater to rock collectors and can guide or direct them to similar opportunities outside of the Park. Safety is also a concern with the public collecting rocks in the Park, as there are steep and unstable slopes that are becoming more hazardous as the collecting alters the stability of the hillside. There is also a concern that some visitors may go beyond the Park boundaries in their quest for rocks.

Park staff has already begun the transition away from rock collecting and will need to educate the public about the need to respect the natural resources. One crucial step is to modify all Park information (signage, brochures, website), so that this activity is no longer encouraged. All materials need to state that it is a prohibited activity. The namesake theme can continue through educational programs and interpretive information about the rocks that occur in the Park and the geology of the region.
Revise written materials by removing all mention of rock collecting and add a reference to the state statute which prohibits rock collecting on Park property.

Written and oral comments on the plan will be accepted. Comment letters can be dropped off at the park; mailed to P.O. Box 1147, Santa Fe, NM 87505; e-mailed to nmparks@state. or faxed to (505) 476-3361.

PLEASE, everyone reading this message, email, snail mail or fax a written comment in opposition to the proposed plan to discontinue rockhounding in Rockhound State Park. You have until April 18, 2011 to make comment, so please get on it today. Let's show the NMSPD personnel that rockhounding has not declined since the 1960s and the park should remain true to its namesake. Also, all you club members out there, please let everyone in your club know about this by mass email so we can get all rockhounds throughout this country engaged in the battle to save yet another of our fleeting freedoms. This may be in far away New Mexico now, but in your backyard tomorrow. 


Below is a link to a drafted response from Mike Streeter, NC Geologist and Rockhound. Feel free to use this draft as a response letter, Following will be a list of contact information to send responses to.

http://mcrocks. com/images- 5/RockhoundState ParkPlanOppositi on.pdf

Contact Information:

The Rockhound State Park Manager:
robertv.apodaca@ state.nm. us
and the Regioanl PArk Manager:
rolf.hechler@ state.nm. us

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez:
http://www.governor .state.nm. us/Contact_ the_Governor. aspx

US Congressman Steve Pearce:
https://pearce. contact-me/ email-me

Deming Mayor: Andres Z. Silva
Phone: 575-546-8848
Email: asilva@cityofdeming .org

Deming City Council Member David Sanchez
Phone: 575-546-3155
Email: dsanchez505@

Deming City Council Member Linda Enis
Phone: 575-546-0333
Email: relex3@gmail. com

Deming City Council Member Joe Milo
Phone: 575-546-7385
Email: deming@cityofdeming .org

Deming City Council Member Bill Shattuck
Phone: 575-544-0455
Email: billshattuck@ 1stvalley. com

Luna County Commissioner Javier Diaz 
Phone: 575-936-6446
Email: rjavier_diaz@ lunacountynm. us

Luna County Commissioner Joe "Oleo" Milo
Phone: 575-546-0494
Email: joe_milo@lunacounty

Luna County Commissioner Jay Spivey
Phone: 575-546-0494
Email: jay_spivey@lunacoun

You have to go to the web site addresses to contact the Governor and US Congressman, but to make it easy for you to email all Deming City Government officials and Luna County Commissioners in one fell swoop, all you need to do is cut and paste the following list of email addresses into the address line of your message:
asilva@cityofdeming .org; dsanchez505@;relex3@gmail. com; deming@cityofdeming .org; billshattuck@ 1stvalley. com; rjavier_diaz@ lunacountynm. us;joe_milo@lunacounty; jay_spivey@lunacoun