Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Who Owns New Mexico?

My mother, Carol, visiting me from Missouri, asked a similar question of the staffer at the Northwest New Mexico Visitors Center, who responded that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) "owned" the most land in New Mexico. 

I've been thinking about this question ever since.

New Mexico has 121,589 square miles or ~ 77.8 million acres or so.

This 1997 article listed the 40 largest private owners of New Mexico land. (Ted Turner was 3rd at more than 1 million acres.)  The authors claimed that 56% of New Mexican land was in government hands (including Indian reservation lands, which makes me wonder - do the Indians own it or not - if the writers lumped same with government land?).

In federal hands

The BLM says it manages 13.4 million acres of public lands in New Mexico. 

The USDA Forest Service manages 9.1 million acres of New Mexico land.

The National Park Service manages some 574k acres in New Mexico (though I'm really squishy about these figures).

So where are we so far?
  • BLM: 13.4m
  • USFS: 9.1m
  • NPS: 574k

Subtotal = 23 million acres owned by the federal government, non-military
Balance = 54.8 million acres

Oh, wait, this 2012 federal document (look on page 4) gives me a total: the feds have 27 million acres of New Mexico land in its hands, or 34.7%.

Largest private owners of NM land: 2008

Credit: Santa Fe Real

 We'll go with a million acres in New Mexico owned by the Singleton family.

The Big 13 Landowners own ~ 3.446 million acres of New Mexico.

Running total:

Feds -->  27 million acres
The Big 13 --> 3.446 million acres

Subtotal = 30.446 million acres/77.8 million acres

New Mexico state parks:

New Mexico's state parks comprise about 91,000 acres.

Subtotal = 30.537 million acres/77.8 million acres

I'm bored now. 

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