Sunday, February 17, 2013

NM counties concerned with forest travel planning

In a state where tourism is big business, leaders from New Mexico's 33 counties want to make sure the federal government gives them a seat at the table as the U.S. Forest Service decides which roads and trails should be closed to motorized traffic. County leaders voted Saturday to approve a resolution addressing the agency's effort to establish travel management plans for millions of acres in New Mexico. The resolution drafted by the New Mexico Association of Counties says the closing of some byways could have significant impacts for communities and any plan that doesn't reflect collaboration with local governments shall be opposed. Jon Paul Saari, the manager of Grant County, which encompasses the southern half of the famed Gila National Forest, said the rural communities that are scattered across the mountains depend on recreationists, hunters, anglers and guides. "We're tourism, and the thing that stays constant is people come here to enjoy our open spaces, our wilderness," he said. "That's where the county commission's concern is. If you shut down access, how are these people going to get out there and enjoy what has been enjoyed for generations?" With the resolution, the association of counties is requesting that the travel plans consider the importance of access for everything from emergencies to resource management and the "customs and cultures of the communities and citizens of New Mexico."...more

 Then there is the Forest Service response:

 "We've done extensive public engagement and have worked with the local governments and counties as we've gone through travel management over the last several years," said James Melonas, the agency's county liaison. "That's really a hallmark for the travel management process."

If the FS had "worked with the local governments and counties" and provided the appropriate amount of coordination, NMAC wouldn't have found it necessary to pass this resolution.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gotta love it...speaking out of both sides of their mouth....

"We're tourism, and the thing that stays constant is people come here to enjoy our open spaces, our wilderness," he said.

Hmmmm....I thought these counties wanted the state to get its hands on all this land so they can sell it for mining, logging, and grazing....but, maybe they are realizing they really get their bacon from the shear fact that this land is federally managed and can not be chopped up and sold to private interests!