Just as our ancestors were stewards of Nuestro Gila, the local Hispanic/Chicano community continues to be the caretakers of its land and water for future generations.
Our shared values are deeply rooted in preserving our land and using it responsibly. Traditional uses of land and water have long offered a way for Hispanic families to thrive and are an important part of how we live in the world. Hunting, fishing, hiking, and herb and firewood gathering are important to Hispanic families across New Mexico. Nuestro Gila, and our Hispanic heritage of coexisting with the natural world, are part of the history of New Mexico and the United States.
The Gila River connects us to our heritage and to each other. Nearly 7,000 Grant County sportsmen and sportswomen participate in hunting and fishing, where the tradition has thrived for generations. Outdoor recreation supports more than 100 jobs, contributes over $5 million in gross domestic product, and more than $743,000 in state and local tax revenues to Grant County. We cannot afford to take Nuestro Gila for granted.
Public lands are the birthright of every New Mexican and public involvement is the key to a thriving Gila. A successful forest plan must include our Hispanic voice to protect our heritage and traditional ways of life so that future generations can also enjoy the land and water that has been entrusted to us.