Category Archives: newmexico

Fire Restrictions Remain in Carson National Forest

ABQjournal: Around Northern New Mexico

Fire Restrictions Remain in Carson

The continued moisture and high humidity have sufficiently lowered fire danger levels throughout the Carson National Forest to allow the lifting of fire restrictions on the Jicarilla, Questa and Camino Real ranger districts.

But moisture on the west side of the forest has been spotty in some areas, and as a safety precaution, Stage I fire restrictions will be enforced for the Canjilon, El Rito and Tres Piedras ranger districts, forest officials have announced. Despite the amount of moisture they have received, these districts experienced four lightning-caused fire starts last week. The new restrictions will go into effect at all districts at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

Under Stage I restrictions, open fires are allowed only in developed campgrounds where fire grates and fire rings are provided. Smoking is allowed only in a vehicle, building, developed campground or area three feet in diameter that has been cleared of all flammable material. As always, fireworks are not allowed on public lands.

Wood product permits, for wood cutting and the like, will be available in Stage I areas Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

All forest users are reminded to practice campfire safety by using plenty of water and making sure campfires are dead out.

For fire restriction information, call (877) 864-6985 or visit

Cibola National Forest Lifts Fire Restrictions

ABQJOURNAL: Cibola National Forest Lifts Fire Restrictions Associated Press

The Cibola National Forest will lift all of its fire restrictions, officials announced today.

The central New Mexico forest had been in Stage III restrictions, but fire danger has decreased because of recent moisture and humidity received over much of the forest, officials said in a news release.

Starting Thursday, the restrictions will be terminated on the Sandia, Mountainair, Magdalena and Mount Taylor ranger districts as well as the Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands.

Campfires remain a concern for forest officials, who are asking the public to build campfires away from material that easily could ignite, keep the fires small and make sure they are out before leaving.

Around New Mexico, most state parks have lifted fire restrictions, but six parks still are enforcing restrictions imposed by local or federal agencies.

The parks do not permit open campfires but allow cooking or heating devices that use kerosene, white gas or propane in areas cleared of vegetation for at least 30 feet or that have a water source.

Those parks are Fenton Lake State Park near Jemez Springs, Navajo Lake State Park near Farmington, Ute Lake State Park near Tucumcari, Cimarron Canyon State Park near Cimarron, Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton and Oasis State Park at Portales.

NM Department of Game and Fish (NMG&F) is once again reviewing its trapping policies

Greetings everyone,

The NM Department of Game and Fish (NMG&F) is once again reviewing its trapping policies which it does every two years. It shouldn’t be this hard to affect change, but your help is needed. Here are two things you can do to help persuade them that traps do not belong on public land.

1. Many of you have already recently written or signed the letter to the NMG&F at our tabling events around the state this spring. If you were one of them, a huge thank you. If you have not written or signed anything this time around yet, it couldn’t be easier. You can use the sample letter below. Please feel free to personalize it. Or you can send your own. It doesn’t need to be long- a few lines are enough. Email it to Rick Winslow at . (Send a copy also to )

2. Most importantly, please use the miracle of email to let your friends and family know as well. You don’t have to be an in-state resident or voter to add your comments. Kids can write too. (Children are shamefully allowed to trap after all and don’t even need a license if under 12 years old.) Public land belongs to everyone and no one should have to worry about having an encounter with a leg-hold trap or snare while using them. Please forward this request to your friends and family. We need as many comment letters as possible to let Game and Fish know there is still broad support to get traps off New Mexico’s public lands and that it is growing.

This review process happens every two years and your letters from two years ago have resulted in change. The game commission has passed a quasi-mandatory requirement that trappers at least report their kills. Of course, we will have to rely on trappers to be honest and accurate in this report. And oddly, if trappers fail to report, they will not be allowed to put in for any special draw hunts but will still be allowed to trap in the following season. It remains to be seen how much compliance there will be. Even though this change is a far cry from adequately protecting the public and wildlife from the scourge of traps, it would not have occurred without our collective voice of protest. Moreover, there have been staff changes at the Game Department and there are two new game commissioners. Even if you wrote then, please write again! Traps are simply not acceptable on New Mexico’s public land.

Here is a link to the latest issue of the Rio Grande Sierran with a front page article on trapping, . And for general information on the problems with NM trapping, please visit the main trapping pages at

Mary Katherine Ray
– – – – –

Here is a sample letter you may copy, paste and send to the new furbearer program coordinator, Rick Winslow, at :

Dear Mr. Winslow,

Leg-hold and lethal traps are not compatible with public use. They should not be permitted on New Mexico’s public land. The NM Department of Game and Fish has an obligation to everyone who enjoys wildlife not just people who buy licenses. Trappers are exploiting public wildlife for personal financial gain. The point is not wildlife management but to sell the skins of these animals. Trapping is not an ethical way to kill wildlife, it is not “fair chase”, nor is it sporting. By hiding traps on public land where other people may legitimately recreate, trappers place us and our animals at risk- a gross infringement of our rights.

Traps do not discriminate. In addition to the legally trapped species, others may be caught including the companion dogs of hikers, search and rescue dogs, and other wildlife including endangered species. The injuries incurred may range from lacerations, swelling, and lameness to broken bones, tissue damage and mutilations that are life-threatening. Trappers are not held accountable and face no penalties in these cases.

NM Game and Fish has not adequately monitored the effect that unlimited trapping has on the wildlife collectively called furbearers. It is not known how many of these animals there are, yet there are no bag limits for any species and no limit to the number of traps that may be set out. There is no information going forward on the effects this practice is having on animal populations or any consideration given to the toll taken by drought which is intensifying. Please stop this abusive practice on public land.


(be sure to include your name and physical address)

Web Site Lets Drivers Check Road Conditions in New Mexico

ABQjournal: Web Site Lets Drivers Check Road Conditions The Associated Press

SANTA FE— Drivers on New Mexico’s highways now can check the Internet before they get behind the wheel to find out road conditions, construction projects and weather forecasts.

“New Mexico motorists need accurate, real-time information on road and weather conditions before they begin their daily commute,” said state Transportation Secretary Rhonda Faught.

The information is generated by a traffic-management program called Condition Acquisition and Reporting System, or CARS.

The department’s six transportation districts enter and update such things as road conditions, construction, closures or maintenance work. The program sends the information to the travel information Web site at or 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Web site displays a map that shows warnings, alerts or closures— and even where there are good driving conditions. It also has a text section that explains what’s going on in various locations in terms of maintenance, construction or other conditions. Tuesday’s messages, for example, alert travelers to road closures due to forest fires and grass fires.

The department also provides road information through a toll-free hotline, (800) 432-4269.