New Mexico County Concerned About Forest Proposal


The letter also notes that federal forestry officials have failed to resolve the conflicts and have not requested or attempted to coordinate with the county to resolve any concerns.

A second letter approved by the trustees was sent to Lincoln National Forest Supervisor, Travis Mosley. It complained about the forest administration’s failure to contact the county about drafting the plan.

Forest officials declined, noting that the county was not only presented with the draft plan early and often, but also given an extended period of time to comment.

The final plan is expected to be ready in the spring of 2022, Alamogordo Daily News reported.

Forest spokeswoman Laura Rabon said the U.S. Forest Service has been inviting the county to participate in the process since 2019. She said forest officials have presented draft plans to the county several times, including including in October 2021 when Lincoln National Forest urged the county to submit any comments, questions, or concerns before the November first comment deadline.

“I want people to know that we really tried to reach out to the county,” Rabon said. “We have invited them many times to join, comment, take the next step and become a partnering agency, and unfortunately we have not received a response from them.”

The US Forest Service even extended the comment period from November 15 to December 15, she said.

The recently approved Otero County comment letter was received by Lincoln National Forest on December 15.

Otero County officials say that the proposed wilderness areas listed in the forest plan would violate established grazing areas and that the designation would not be appropriate because some of the land does not meet wilderness area standards.

They pointed to roads, fences, barns, wells, pipes and other structures that dot some of the area.

County commissioners also said they are concerned about the regulated use of burning in designated wilderness areas as a wildfire mitigation effort, rather than a conventional forest health strategy.

(Copyright 2021 by Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

https://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/new-mexico-county-concerned-about-forest-proposal/6343194/?cat=500 New Mexico County Concerned About Forest Proposal

Yasmin Harisha

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