Op-ed: My daughter and I love to explore Arizona, but it may soon get harder (for all of us)

Op-ed: My daughter and I love to explore Arizona, but it may soon get harder (for all of us)

When my daughter, Vida, was 3, she wanted to go on an adventure.

We packed up our backpacks with snacks, notebooks, crayons and water, and set out to explore the outdoors. We headed to Phoenix’s Piestewa Peak to climb rocks and investigate various plants and animals, and had an inspiring day that sparked our curiosity for the natural world right in our own backyard.

Vida is 8 now and a proud member of the Girl Scouts, where I also work. I watch as she and her troop members learn new skills, push the boundaries of their imaginations and nurture their connections to the earth.

I am also struck when I see Latino families in Phoenix grow closer each year when we gather at South Mountain Park to go camping, practice archery and cook dinner on the open fire. All of the generations bond for this special experience in the outdoors that is becoming increasingly rare in our urban culture.

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Op-ed: Keep nature within reach by investing in Utah’s parks and trails

Op-ed: Keep nature within reach by investing in Utah’s parks and trails

By Mark Archuleta Wheatley

Rep. Rob Bishop has been called a lot of things by the environmental community, but late this session of Congress he defied labels and voiced his support for reauthorizing one of the most important, if underappreciated, conservation laws, the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Bishop’s pursuit of a bipartisan deal to sustain this important program was a watershed moment for a town renowned for gridlock and on an issue that had previously and repeatedly died on the vine due to the congressman’s past opposition.

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HECHO in National Wildlife Magazine "Working for Wildlife" Section

HECHO in National Wildlife Magazine "Working for Wildlife" Section

Early last year, the National Wildlife Federation formed a strategic partnership with HECHO (Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors). The conservation group provides an effective voice for communities that traditionally have been underrepresented on matters relating to the environment. “HECHO is a national leader on public lands issues, and NWF is proud to have such a powerful partner to advance our collective conservation priorities,” says NWF Regional Executive Director Brian Kurzel.

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Op-ed: We all must speak up to protect our national monuments

Op-ed: We all must speak up to protect our national monuments

By Arizona state Rep. Mark Cardenas, Utah state Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck and Nevada state Sen. Mo Denis

As state representatives of the Southwest, we are concerned about the future of our national monuments. Right now, both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments are under attack, and the public has just a short window to weigh in.

Both of these monuments are in Utah, but they are vital to us all, as they safeguard our nation’s diverse history and cultural heritage. Our voices are part of the two-thirds of western voters, and 86 percent of Latino voters in the west, who say that reducing these monuments is a bad idea. We are proud to have public lands in our backyard — lands that belong to all of us.

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Protecting Public Lands for Future Generations

Protecting Public Lands for Future Generations

As a 26 year-old living in Phoenix, I hear all the time from the Latino community that camping and hiking is not part of our culture. That’s not true. This is part of who we are. It is part of our identity to enjoy the earth and what it provides for us, and also to have our role in protecting it. People are disengaged from their history and their roots. But if you can’t directly experience public lands, it’s harder to advocate on their behalf, or speak to elected officials about why they should care.

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Teaching Our Kids to Fish and Hunt: A Generations-old Tradition

Teaching Our Kids to Fish and Hunt: A Generations-old Tradition

Sylvia Lovato Huereña loves nothing more than to watch a child fish for the first time. She had this experience with her own children, her 10 grandchildren, and countless others. “When a child goes out to the lake and catches their first fish, at first they’re terrified to grab it when it’s jumping all over,” she said. “But then the amount of joy in their eyes is one of the most profound moments.” In addition to teaching them how to hold a fishing pole and pull the hook out of the fish’s mouth, she and her husband Lupe also let them know that whatever they kill they have to eat; and that they should leave the lake in better condition than they found it.

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Enjoying the Outdoors | October 2018

Enjoying the Outdoors | October 2018

We love this time of year-- the changing colors of the leaves and the cooler temperatures make being outdoors that much more exciting. It’s a wonderful time to hike, bike, hunt, and fish on our beautiful public lands, and we wanted to start sharing around some of our favorite places to visit. We're starting with some adventures we like for October in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah from Al, Rebecca, and Viviana, and we will be sending out new recommendations over the coming months.

We hope you like our "Enjoying the Outdoors" recommendations. If you are inspired, we invite you to share places you enjoy and would like to recommend to the HECHO community!

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Celebrating the 112th Anniversary of the Antiquities Act with Max Trujillo

Celebrating the 112th Anniversary of the Antiquities Act with Max Trujillo

This month we’re celebrating the 112th anniversary of the Antiquities Act, a law enacted and first used by President Theodore Roosevelt. Sixteen presidents (8 Republicans and 8 Democrats) have taken action to preserve our American heritage by designating places of cultural and historical significance as national monuments—places such as the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, César E. Chávez National Monument, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument and the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

As we recognize this legacy of preserving these places that has lasted well over a century, we joined up with the new group Artemis Sportswomen for a conversation with two New Mexicans active in conservation. Max Trujillo from HECHO and Christine Gonzales from Artemis were kind enough to hop on the phone and share their experiences with public lands and conservation and reflect on the importance of why we protect the places we love.

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Statement: State Control of Oil & Gas on Public Lands Amounts to Transfer

Statement: State Control of Oil & Gas on Public Lands Amounts to Transfer

At HECHO, we support making public lands management more responsive to local communities and diverse stakeholders. However, this bill would not only give states ‘exclusive jurisdiction’ over oil and gas development on our public lands, but it would also exempt states from following our laws requiring public involvement and reviews.

There’s no guarantee that states would provide the same opportunities for public comment or conduct the kind of environmental analysis that the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service do. This bill amounts to a de facto transfer of national public lands to the states, and we are very much opposed to it.

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Statement: Congress Must Reject Shortsighted Public Land Bills

Statement: Congress Must Reject Shortsighted Public Land Bills

“We’ve been asking for commonsense updates to oil and gas leasing policies established in the 1920s for years, but this proposal is a loser. The fees we should be raising are oil and gas royalty rates, which currently offer up our public lands at rock bottom rates.

We at HECHO value both our public lands and our voices. This policy of ‘pay to say’ would not only charge $150 or more just to object to an oil and gas lease on public lands, but it would also have a chilling effect on our constitutional right to petition our government. Our deep ties to the land and generations-old traditions on the land compel us, as stewards, to reject any attempt to drown out our voices, especially when it comes to decisions being made about our public lands.

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Why We Need a Sense of Place

Why We Need a Sense of Place

There’s a lot less environmental education now because of the modernization and the comforts we bring into our cities. Historically Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado have been land-based cultures. We lived more sustainably and had more appreciation for what the land had to offer. Now we don’t need to worry about how much water is in the mountains because we buy our vegetables from the store.  Read more about what Dr. Eric Romero is doing to help educate young people about the importance of having a sense of place.

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Want to Have a Voice in Public Lands Policy? Now is the Time to Apply!

Want to Have a Voice in Public Lands Policy? Now is the Time to Apply!

Believe it or not, some good news has come out of Washington recently related to public lands. On March 23, President Trump signed the omnibus spending bill, which included a two-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act (SRS Act). This is hugely important for supporting schools in rural areas, as well as road maintenance and Forest Service Resource Advisory Committees (RACs), which are solely funded by this bill. Want to get involved? Find out how.

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Local Elected Officials Urge Administration not to Repeal Methane Waste Rule

Local Elected Officials Urge Administration not to Repeal Methane Waste Rule

On April 10 the San Miguel County Board in Northern New Mexico unanimously passed a resolution opposing the BLM’s proposed repeal of the Methane Waste Rule, intended to reduce methane leaking, venting and flaring from oil and gas operations.  Introduced by HECHO Board Chair and County Commissioner Rock Ulibarri, the resolution was prompted by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s refusal to hold hearings on the repeal of this important Rule, which would save New Mexico approximately $10 million per year in revenue that could be used for education and other infrastructure.

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