SANTA FE – Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) officials made a decision June 1 to proceed with the Pacheco Canyon Forest Resiliency Project on the Santa Fe National Forest. The decision to proceed with project activities follows more than a year of environmental analysis and collaboration with local, state and federal agencies, Tribal governments and non-governmental organizations.
The project area consists of approximately 2,042 acres of National Forest System lands surrounding tribal lands along Pacheco Canyon Road. The high tree density in the project area increases the risk for insect outbreaks, and the abundance of ladder fuels increase the probability that a wildfire would spread quickly with severe impacts on the forest and downstream resources. One such community that will benefit from the work is the Pueblo of Tesuque, which owns land adjacent to the project area.
“The Pueblo of Tesuque appreciates the joint collaboration with the USDA Forest Service to implement fuel reduction activities within the Santa Fe National Forest and within the Pueblo’s aboriginal homelands,” said Pueblo of Tesuque Governor Frederick Vigil.
The project decision authorizes activities aimed at improving forest conditions and reducing fire risk. Stand densities will be reduced primarily through thinning small-diameter trees in the project area and piling the vegetation, followed by prescribed burns. Work will begin as early as July and could take up to three years to complete.
The Pacheco Canyon project is part of a collaborative effort to improve the health and long-term resilience of forested watersheds and communities by addressing wildfire across the Greater Santa Fe Fireshed, a 107,000-acre priority landscape in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
“The Pacheco Canyon project will improve forest health and reduce wildfire risk in the watershed above the Pueblo of Tesuque tribal lands,” said James Melonas, forest supervisor. “I value the truly collaborative effort between Tesuque Pueblo, the Santa Fe National Forest, and many other partners in all aspects of this project, including conducting archeological and wildlife surveys to ensure protection of sensitive resources.”
“The SFNF will continue to work in close coordination with the Pueblo in implementing this project over the next several years,” Melonas said.
For more information, contact the Santa Fe National Forest Public Affairs Office: 505.438.5320 or 505.438.5321.