A pair of Mexican spotted owls. Courtesy/NPS
Under a recent court-ordered injunction, the five national forests in New Mexico and the Tonto National Forest in Arizona have suspended all permit sales for collecting fuelwood.
The federal court’s ruling is related to the recent court-ordered injunction in the case WildEarth Guardians vs. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, et al, concerning the Mexican spotted owl.
In addition to fuelwood permits, the six national forests have also suspended all timber management activities, including stewardship contracts, timber sales, thinning and prescribed burns, in order to comply with the ruling.
Each forest affected by the injunction may be able to provide customers with potential alternative fuelwood options in their area.
On the Santa Fe National Forest, the Cuba Ranger District is selling Bureau of Land Management (BLM) fuelwood permits for collection on BLM lands. The Jemez Ranger District expects to be selling BLM fuelwood permits soon. Due to the injunction, the Jemez Ranger District has closed its satellite office at the Pueblo of Jemez Welcome Center, also known as the Walatowa Visitor Center.
Southwestern Regional Forester Cal Joyner acknowledged the hardship that the implementation of the court order imposes on tribes and rural communities that depend on the national forests for their sustenance.
“Our staff is exhaustively exploring every possible option to come to a quick resolution so that we can continue to assist the communities we serve,” Joyner said. “While we are limited on the details we can share while we are in litigation, please know that we will continue to communicate what we can regularly, and we are grateful for your support, understanding and patience.”
The national forests impacted by the court’s order remain open to the public for recreation and other activities. For the most up-to-date information from the Forest Service, go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/r3/mso.