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An Act Relating To Parks; Creating The Rio Grande Trail Commission To Recommend Policies To Establish A Rio Grande Trail; Creating The Rio Grande Trail Fund; Making An Appropriation.

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Legislative URL:
HB 563 on
Emergency Clause:
[15] HEENC [27] DNP-CS/DP - PASSED/H (63-1) [30] SCONC/SFC-SCONC [39] DP/a-SFC [41] DP/a [48] fl/a- PASSED/S (32-3) [47] h/cncrd SGND BY GOV (Apr. 2) Ch. 20.

Related Legislators

Bill Sponsor:

Related Documents

HEENC Committee Substitute
HEENC Committee Report
Final House Vote
SCONC Committee Report
SFC Committee Report
Senate Floor Amendment 1
Final Senate Vote
Fiscal Impact Report
Final Version

This bill creates the Rio Grande Trail Commission to recommend policies to establish a Rio Grande Trail that will run the length of the state from Colorado to Texas. The commission, which will be administratively attached to and staffed by the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD), will:

  • define and recommend viable routes for the trail;
  • mitigate challenges related to its establishment;
  • define and recommend other trail features, facilities and enhancements;
  • make recommendations to the Legislature; and
  • report its progress annually to the appropriate interim legislative committees related to water and natural resources and economic development.


The Rio Grande Trail Fund is created, administered by EMNRD, with money in the fund appropriated to EMNRD to develop and establish the Rio Grande trail.


The House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee Substitute for House Bill 563 is in most respects the same as the original bill. The substitute revises the makeup of the commission, reducing the total number of members from 15 to 11. It requires the commission to meet at least three times per year. And it requires the commission to consult, regarding trail development issues within their jurisdiction, with representatives of those conservation and irrigation districts served by the Rio Grande and of acequias, counties, land grants, municipalities and Indian nations tribes or pueblos adjoining the Rio Grande.


Potential benefits of this bill might include preservation of lands traversed by the trail and increased recognition, appreciation and utilization of the state’s natural recreation resources.


On March 15th the Senate Conservation Committee amended the HEENRC substitute for HB 563:

  • to specify that, “The Rio Grande trail shall be a recreation trail for New Mexico residents and visitors to enjoy the natural beauty of New Mexico and the Rio Grande and learn about the culture and history of New Mexico. The trail shall be established in a manner that seeks to minimize environmental impacts and preserve sensitive habitat”;
  • to require that the commission representatives of organizations specializing in river ecology and conservation and bird ecology and conservation have “specific experience in the stated area of the organization’s expertise”;
  • to require that the commission collaborate and cooperate with the National Park Service’s Historic Trails Project when appropriate; and
  • to provide additional direction to the commission with regard to public involvement and trail development.


The Senate Finance Committee amendment of March 18, 2015 makes clear that the power of eminent domain cannot be used for purposes of constructing the trail and related facilities.


Potential benefits of this bill, as amended, might include preservation of lands traversed by the trail and increased recognition, appreciation and utilization of the state’s natural recreation resources.