What’s an easement?

In general, an easement provides the right for a person (or the public) to use the land of another in a particular manner for a specific purpose, says Art Anaya, the Department’s land, water and property specialist. Typically, an easement is a non-possessory interest in land (by another) that does not constitute full ownership. Easements are most commonly useful when trying to establish access or determining a specific use across another’s land. And, believe it or not, easements are everywhere! From the roads we drive, the trails we hike, to the lakes we swim. Easements are a daily part of most of our lives. Don’t believe us? It’s likely you, or someone you know, has spent time at one or all three of our most enjoyed fishing easements, or, possibly, one of the Open Gate easements.

San Juan Fishing Easement. Ross Morgan, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

Wait…did you say fishing easements?

Now, don’t be so surprised! Remember? Easements can be anything. And fortunately, back in the 60s and 80s, the New Mexico State Game Commission secured public access for three:

San Juan Fishing Easement http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/SanJuan-Fishing-Easement-WMA-NMDGF.pdf

Rio Chama Fishing Easement  http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Chama-River-Esmt-WMA-NMDGF.pdf

Harold Brock Fishing Easement – LINK TO COME

These easements allow access to our licensed anglers for the enjoyment of fishing. Together, these easements provide excellent access along roughly eight miles of riverfront. So next time you are out fishing, just know you are enjoying the terms of these easements. 

Below: Art Anaya, the Department’s land, water and property specialist. Gary Calkins, the Department’s Open Gate program coordinator.

So, were Open Gate easements also mentioned?

The Open Gate program can also enter into agreements with private landowners to lease access across their land to reach otherwise inaccessible or hard to reach public lands, explains Gary Calkins, Open Gate program coordinator. These Open Gate easements are on specific roads across private land and may have date or other access restrictions. Most of these Open Gate easements allow access for hunting legal game on the accessed public lands. The landowner, in these instances, gets an annual payment for allowing access and also is covered by liability insurance for allowing public access.

For information on the Open Gate easements and all other Open Gate properties, go to http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/hunting/maps/open-gate-program/.


It is the mission of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to conserve, regulate, propagate and protect the wildlife and fish within the State of New Mexico, using a flexible management system that ensures sustainable use for public food supply, recreation and safety—and to provide for off-highway motor vehicle recreation that recognizes cultural, historic and resource values while ensuring public safety.