Our national forests play host to a wide variety of users, not least of whom are sportsmen and women. Totaling nearly 190 million acres across the United States, national forests are critical to local, state and federal economies. The Forest Plans for two of the most productive and widely-appreciated forests in the West, the Carson, and Santa Fe, are up for review this year, with public comment being accepted until November 7th.
There are a wide variety of user groups and industries vying for preference in this process, and hunters and anglers need to step up and make their voices heard to ensure that our priorities are front and center in the new Forest Plan. These Forest Plans are foundational to how these landscapes are managed and will ultimately have broad impacts on the health of fish and wildlife population, habitat connectivity, and opportunities for hunters and anglers in the region.
Forest Plan Details
- The proposed plan makes great strides towards making sure sportsmen and wildlife priorities are managed along with other uses. We are glad to see forest-wide direction provided to guarantee that wildlife habitat connectivity is identified as a priority within both plans, and we applaud our land managers for ensuring this help guides other land uses and management within the region.
- Protecting habitat connectivity and priority migratory corridors remains a priority for BHA and other sportsmen's groups, and we are pleased to see meaningful habitat conservation measures being proposed for important wildlife habitat in areas like the Valle Vidal (Carson), San Antonia (Carson) and Caja del Rio (Sante Fe) Management Areas. BHA is relieved to see that this plan includes wildlife values as a priority, but we would like to see that more is done to limit habitat fragmentation by prohibiting new road development, motorized/mechanized trail development and surface-based energy development within these areas.
- We’re glad to see meaningful acreage within the planning area(s) recommended for wilderness and believe that such designations will see to it that hunters, anglers and other public land recreational users continue to have the opportunity to experience the solitude, challenge and reward that these wild lands offer. We support what’s been proposed in the plan and ask our land managers to consider additional wilderness quality lands for this designation; however, along with these provisions, we believe more needs to be done to confirm that daily fish and wildlife management activities by New Mexico Game & Fish can continue uninterrupted within both designated and recommended wilderness areas within the planning area.
- Hunters and anglers remain invested in working to shape future management within the Sante Fe and Carson national forest. We’re encouraged by what’s been proposed and standby ready to more fully engage in the process.
We need BHA members invested in these incredible ecosystems to look into the specifics of each plan and voice your comments. Public input for this process is a valuable opportunity for our community, and we should take advantage of it. Find the draft forest plans and associated comment guides below.
Carson National Forest Map
Santa Fe National Forest Map
The comment period for these forest plans is open until Nov. 7. You can comment on the plans with the click of a button through the Connected Corridors website here. Take a moment to review the plan details and comment guides, and make your voice heard!
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Cover image - Greg Westfall Photography