Update Regarding New Mexico Public Hearing --- Keep Writing Those Letters!
Just a quick update from SPA HQ on the purposed ruling in New Mexico. The public hearing went very well on October 17th. We had numerous people give positive testimony supporting SPA's position against the purposed banning of seaplanes from water controlled by the New Mexico State Parks. Those giving testimony included Stephen Summers from NM State DOT's Aviation Division who questioned the purpose and reasoning behind the ban, John Mulcahy the Mayor of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and representatives from the Elephant Butte Inn which is on Elephant Butte Reservoir which delivered a written letter against the measure from both the owners of the resort and the Mayor of Elephant Butte, New Mexico, the Vice president of the New Mexico Pilots Association (NMPA), Ron Keller from New Mexico DOT & also an active member of the NMPA, as well as, other including myself who gave a lengthy opposition complete with numerous facts and figures on seaplane safety and invasive spread via seaplanes as they apply directly to New Mexico. Additionally, I urged the State and State Parks to use SPA as partner and resource to advise New Mexico on seaplane related issues. It is in SPA's best interest to advise the state park system with accurate information based on research and facts when it comes to both seaplane safety and invasive species. As responsible users of our natural resources SPA will not support seaplane activity in an areas that we determine are un safe for seaplane operation, nor will we encourage seaplane operation if we determine that seaplane pose a significant potential to spread invasive species. To date we have determined that seaplanes do not pose either a significant threat to public safety or the spread of invasive species based on all of the information we have reviewed.
The only support for the seaplane restrictions came from the New Mexico Fish & Wildlife Service which gave a brief prepared statement mentioning the potential loss of funding to their projects if seaplanes were allowed to operate on their lakes, and that they believed that seaplane operation on these waters would increase the threat to the spread of invasive species. Neither claim was supported, and in SPA's opinion neither is true. New Mexico Fish & Wildlife does have a history of being anti-aviation, and seems to be a loner on their positions.
The meeting went very well from our perspective, and we had a great turn out against the measure. Additionally, the amount of write-in and email letters that that have been received by April Alvarado and Steve Tayfoa have been extremely surprising to them. SPA must humbly thank our partners AOPA, EAA, RAF and the New Mexico Pilots Association and the countless people which have been working behind the scenes on this issue. This has been a text book case of how to engage and leverage the public's opinion on the decision making process. New Mexico's State Parks Department has told me that they were especially impressed with how professional and courteous the letters they received have been and that will definitely be taken into to consideration and impress the review board.
All of that being said, we are not assured of victory until the ruling has been made so...
Keep writing those letters to April Alvarado firstname.lastname@example.org and Steve Tayfoa email@example.com and Fedex them in to April Alvarado, EMNRD, State Parks Division, 1220 S. St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87505 as we have until October 31st to submit public comments.
Good work Steve! It is sad to hear the the NM Dept. of Fish and Wildlife is anti-seaplane. I grew up in Maine, where the DFW was a big promoter of and user of seaplanes. My Dad as a State Senator chaired the Fish and Wildlife Committee for years and was sometimes transported by DFW floatplane to inspect a location that was the subject of proposed legislation.
Keep up the good work!