Las Conchas Fire Order Closures To Be Lifted

Editors Note: The following update was posted to the Los Alamos Trails Group on Facebook by Lynn Bjorklund, Espanola Ranger District, Santa Fe National Forest

The Forest Supervisor will sign the revised Las Conchas Fire order sometime on Monday, June 4th. For those of us in Los Alamos this means that the closure will be entirely lifted for Los Alamos County. For the Jemez District, it will be entirely lifted for non motorized travel. Most of the Jemez District Forest Service roads will still be closed to motorized travel. The roads within the Jemez that will be “exempted” meaning they will be open, are as follows:

• FR 289 from the Cochiti Indian Reservation to the junction of NM Highway 4;

• FR 36 from the junction of FR 289 to the junction of FR 268;

• FR 286 from the junction of FR 268 to junction of Forest Trail 113;

• FR 266 from the junction of FR 10 to the Jemez Indian Reservation;

• FR 268 from the junction of NM Highway 4 to FR 286;

• FR 270 from FR 10 to Cerro Pelado Lookout

• FR 280;

• FR 281;

• FR282;

• Las Conchas Picnic Area and Fishing Access.

This next week the YCC crews will be constructing a segment of trail up Canyon de Valle that will connect our Sweco trail to the lesser damaged original trail upstream- about 0.6 miles. We will then clear about a dozen downed trees on that upper portion of trail and it should then be very “do able”. There will be a whole lot of finishing work to do, but it will at least be open again.

Water Canyon is still a huge mess and not easy to hike. Craig (Martin) has volunteered to design a new trail and lead volunteers in re-contruction.

Pajarito Canyon has had a lot of work. The first part of the trail to where the Perimeter Trail branches off, right before the climbing rocks, will need to be re-established, but beyond that, hazard trees have been cut and the Sweco did some work, perhaps more than we wanted, in re-establishing the trail out of the canyon and back to towards the Nail trail. A volunteer work crew got about half of it narrowed back down to a nice trail, but additional work is needed. It is very do-able as well right now.

North Mitchell trail to Guaje Reservoir is still mostly to barely descernable. I hope to get some crews on it this summer. If it goes another year or two, it may entirely disappear. Lots of locusts, aspens, raspberries, and strawberries coming up in the remnants of the trail tread. There are some scarry hazard trees on the steep slopes of that trail and it is slow going threading through the downed trees and trying to decipher where the trail used to go. Be very careful if you go on it.

Guaje Canyon trail from upper Guaje Road junction to Guaje Reservoir has been opened by unsolicited volunteers trespassing in the closure area and driving up the non montorized route. I was astonished by the amount of work that was done to get their vehicles up the canyon, and equally astonished that they were actually able to drive up an incredibly rugged route. There are about a half dozen cows in Guaje Canyon that belong to Santa Clara, and we are trying to get those removed and back to the Santa Clara lands.

Between the YCC crews, Forest Service contract crews, and all our wonderful volunteers, I think we can make some good headway this summer on re-establishing our trail system. I would suggest the section of perimeter trail beween Canyon de Valle and Water Canyon (the lower section along 501) as a future Monday night project. There are some fire damaged areas that need work, but it wouldn’t take too much to get it back into reasonable condition. Hazard trees have been removed along that section during our BAER contract.

The entire Santa Fe National Forest has just entered into Stage I fire restrictions, even in the Wilderness areas. This means no open fires outside of estabished fire pits in developed campgrounds and no smoking in the Forests. Back packer camp stoves are still okay, but no open fires in the Wilderness or anywhere else. If you see anything of concern, please call our Dispatch Office at 505 438-5600.

Be safe out there and lets not have any more fires this year so that we can concentrate on rehab work!

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