SANTA FE ― The Santa Fe National Forest is inviting members of the public to provide comments by March 16, 2017, on two proposed forest restoration projects in the mountains near Santa Fe.
Both projects are part of a larger multi-agency collaborative, the Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition (GSFFC), which takes a landscape-scale approach to improving forest resilience and mitigating wildfire risk near the City of Santa Fe.
- The Hyde Park Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Project is located in forests east of the community of Hyde Park Estates, near Hyde Park Memorial State Park and adjacent to Black Canyon Campground.
- The Pacheco Canyon Forest Resiliency Project is located about six miles northwest of the City of Santa Fe near Aspen Basin Campground, Big Tesuque Campground, Aspen Vista Picnic Area and the Santa Fe Ski Basin.
The 1,825-acre Hyde Park WUI project would use thinning, mastication and prescribed fire to reduce the risk of catastrophic crown fires in the area. By restoring the area to historic conditions, the treatments will also improve conditions in the Santa Fe Watershed, which provides 40 percent of the water to city residents, and restore wildlife habitat.
The 2,200-acre Pacheco Canyon project will employ the same treatments to achieve similar goals. The project area includes Tesuque Pueblo land, and the tribal government is working closely with the Santa Fe National Forest and other members of the GSFFC to plan and implement the treatment and provide funding.
Both projects have been identified as high-priority projects for the GSFFC to make the communities around Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Watershed more resilient to wildfire and mitigate the potential for catastrophic flooding and debris flow after a high-intensity wildfire.
The Forest Service is using a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to move forward with both the Hyde Park WUI and Pacheco Canyon projects.
In addition to the Forest Service, members of the GSFFC include New Mexico State Forestry, the City of Santa Fe, the County of Santa Fe, the Forest Stewards Guild, The Nature Conservancy, the Wilderness Society, the Pueblo of Tesuque, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the US Geological Survey Jemez Field Station, the Pojoaque Soil and Water Conservation District, the Santa Fe Watershed Association, the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute and the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society.