Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Campers tearing down fences of Lincoln National Forest

A little mouse is the source of a big controversy in one part of New Mexico. The government has been fencing off areas in the Lincoln National Forest to protect the endangered species but now some campers have started tearing those fences down. The forest service is trying to protect the endangered animal’s habitat by fencing off parts of the forest near Cloudcroft. “It’s to try to keep livestock out so that we can have more vegetation there that is required by the mouse, they need quite of vegetation to have forage and then also cover,” said Ciara Cusack with the Forest Service. It seems that not everyone is okay with these fences. People have spoken out against them, saying they are causing problems for local ranchers. Now, the Forest Service says it’s campers who are taking down the fences. “There have been plenty of times where over the weekends people have put the fence down and driven over it to camp in these areas,” said Cusack. New warning signs mark the latest step in the fight over access to the public land. It is a necessary step according to the forest service. “Having these fences up will help the critical habitat by reducing the impact of both camping and livestock grazing in the areas,” said Cusack. The forest service thinks there’s enough room for campers and the meadow jumping mouse to co-exist. “We try to do where we won’t affect people’s experience out here and there’s still places to camp and for people to enjoy the forest,” said Cusack. The forest service also says people caught taking down the fences can be fined up to a $1,000 but they hope it won’t come to that.  KRQE

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