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News Summary

  • The country’s busiest oil and gas office has a plan for more drilling

    If there is one swath of land that holds the most promise for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s vision for energy dominance, it might be southeast New Mexico. The 6-million acre region includes part of the Permian Basin, which stretches into west Texas and Read More
  • New Mexico Wild Rangers Rehabilitate our Wilderness Trails

      By 'Backpacker Bill' Kemsley For The Taos News About two weeks ago my wife and I met Wilderness Ranger Atieno Ouma on the Santa Barbara Trail in the Pecos Wilderness. She is a cheery, young woman with whom we Read More
  • PRESS RELEASE: Conservation and environmental groups release recommendations for game commission candidates

    For Immediate Release Media Contacts:Kevin Bixby, Southwest Environmental Center, 575-522-5552, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Calman, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, 505-843-8696, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Crenshaw, New Mexico Wildlife Federation, 505-577-7510, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Dax, Defenders of Wildlife, 505-395-7334, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Johnson, Animal Protection New Mexico, 505-265-2322, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Seamster, Sierra Read More
  • Celebrate 50 years of Wild and Scenic with more designations

    Everyone has a river story. A favorite story of mine is when my dad took our family on a rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon when I was a teenager, in 1967. At that time, there Read More
  • Senator Heinrich: Gila not appropriate for flyovers

    Thursday, August 16, 2018 Gila not appropriate for flyovers   Dear Friend,   I hope you can take a moment to read and share an op-ed I wrote in the Silver City Daily Press about why I am calling on Read More
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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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