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Save Our Monuments before July 10

Give comment to protect our monuments

Assault on forest also assaults our sensibilities

By Mark Allison / Executive Director, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance

Sunday, November 15th, 2015 at 12:02am

I’m sure many of you have seen the numerous articles on the illegal tree cutting recently discovered in the Santa Fe National Forest near the Santa Fe ski basin.

Hundreds of trees have been illegally felled, some as tall as 50 feet.

Surveying the area recently with my dog, Jed, I personally measured one with a circumference of 36 inches. A dozen or so different trails have been created, the largest 40 feet across and a half mile long running from the top of Raven’s Ridge to the ski area parking lot.

Some trails encroach into the wilderness.

The best guess is that they were created by rogue skiers/snowboarders wanting to “glade” through the trees on their own private runs.

The hitch? It’s not private land, but public.

No doubt, the damage is significant. The selfishness breathtaking. The audacity impressive.

A few things come to mind.

It was discovered and reported by day hikers. Their concern and action exemplifies what it means to be citizen conservationists.

It also illustrates the importance of on-the-ground eyes and ears and the importance of reporting illegal or inappropriate behavior.

This has also underscored how under-resourced the Forest Service is: With a single enforcement officer for the entire Santa Fe National Forest, they need good private partners like us (along with a bigger budget).

This seems to have shocked our collective conscious. I have to ask, why?

With all of the threats to our public lands that we deal with every day, this truthfully is well down on the list. Has the negative reaction been disproportionate to the offense?

After all, the felled trees will eventually rot and recycle, the scar will disappear. The forest will certainly survive.

My sense is that people are outraged in part because the issue is small enough and close enough to feel. It feels like an assault on what is collectively ours, because that is exactly what it is.

It assails the awe and reverence that many of us feel when we enter a wild place.

This crime feels so personal because it is such a flagrant attack on the pact we have – between us and wild things and with each other.

And while our public lands are great for recreating – I’ve personally skied, snowshoed, hiked and backpacked this area – wild places are about much more than a couple minutes of thrill ride down a mountainside.

It is this lack of respect or even understanding for other users and the land itself that is so galling – that and the fact that it is literally in sight of an area developed specifically for that kind of use.

If it is perhaps indicative that the very notion of the commons is under threat, it is also a reminder that humans are wild places’ biggest threat.

And with people like you, the wild’s staunchest defenders, we will faithfully keep watch.

 

http://www.abqjournal.com/676047/opinion/assault-on-forest-also-assaults-our-sensibilities.html

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News Summary

  • 2019 Board of Directors Election

    If you are lifetime member of New Mexico Wild or you have donated to our organization in the past year, you are eligible to vote in the 2019 Board of Directors Election. Please email Suzanne Soto at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to confirm your Read More
  • Let’s celebrate wilderness together

    By Mark Allison, Executive Director, New Mexico WildMarch 30, 2019 | Santa Fe New Mexican On March 12, the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act was signed into law. This package of public lands legislation established 13 new Read More
  • New Mexico gets more wild

    By Tisha Broska, New Mexico Wild Deputy DirectorAlbuquerque Journal | March 31, 2019 On March 12, the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act was signed into law. This package of public lands legislation established 13 new wilderness areas Read More
  • New Mexico Wild Celebrates Re-Introduction of Chaco Protection Legislation

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        Contacts: Mark Allison, New Mexico Wild, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 505-239-0906 Joey Keefe, New Read More
  • New Mexico courts outdoor recreation economy

    Las Cruces Sun-News (via Associated Press)April 2, 2019 SANTA FE - New Mexico is seeking a bigger share of the nation’s outdoor recreation economy with the creation of a special division dedicated to expanding the state’s foothold in the lucrative industry. Read More
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  • Columbine Hondo Wilderness - 2014

    The Columbine Hondo Wilderness Act was signed by President Obama on December 19, 2014, protecting 46,000 acres in Taos County. The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance helped form the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Coalition in 2010 and was instrumental along the path toward wilderness designation, helping to get resolutions and support letters from the Town of Taos, Taos Cycling Coalition, Taos Chamber of Commerce, Taos Pueblo War Chief and Taos County Commission. Read More
  • Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks - 2014

    The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance has been leading conservation efforts in Doña Ana County since 2004, when we opened our Las Cruces field office. On May 21, 2014, after a decade of work, President Barack Obama designated the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument by use of the Antiquities Act. This move by the president safeguards nearly 500,000 acres of culturally, historically and biologically rich land in Doña Ana County. We continue to work for wilderness areas within the new national monument. Read More
  • Rio Grande del Norte National Monument - 2013

    The Rio Grande del Norte has shaped the lives of the people who have lived and visited the area for so many generations. Since 2007, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance has been working on permanent protection of Rio Grande del Norte. Rio Grande del Norte was designated as a national monument Monday, March 25, 2013, by President Obama. NM Wild is now pushing for wilderness designation within the national monument. Read More
  • Sabinoso Wilderness - 2009

    Rising 1,110 feet from the surrounding plains, the Sabinoso unit sits upon the Canadian Escarpment, which is composed mostly of the Jurassic Morrison Formation and Triassic Chinle Shale. Sabinoso became Wilderness on March 24, 2009, when President Obama signed into law the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009. The area has fantastic ecological, scenic, recreational and cultural values. Read More
  • Ojito Wilderness - 2005

    The designation of Ojito Wilderness in 2005 was one of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance’s first conservation victories. In the mid-90s, NM Wild formed and established itself as the statewide grassroots voice for wildlands. In the mid-2000s, the organization started pushing for Ojito Wilderness. Efforts included collaboration with the Zia tribe, New Mexico Gov. Bruce King and other statewide elected officials. After passing through both the U.S. House of Representatives (unanimously) and U.S. Senate, President George W. Bush signed the Ojito Wilderness Act into law on Wednesday, October 26, 2005. Read More
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