The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

Public Safety

Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade

Sandoval County Fire Department, Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade, and other rescue vehicles cruise up Highway 165 for the Annual Placitas Fourth of July Parade.

Thank you from the Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade

—SAL GULLO, ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF

On behalf of the Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade (PVFB), District 4 of the Sandoval County Fire Department, a few “thanks” are in order.

The PVFB would like to thank the Placitas community for a safe and happy 4th of July. The start of the day was the usual parade through the village, where this year we had in attendance by invitation the Sandoval County Fire Chief, Jon Tibbetts, and the Med Unit. Also present was a fire engine and crew from Bernalillo. We are glad to report that there were no medical or fire responses directly related to fireworks. Our area has been experiencing our usual dry weather that has caused danger of wildfires sparked by fireworks. A handful of our members were out on patrol on the evening of the 4th in some of our emergency vehicles looking for hazardous fireworks. Thankfully, there were very few of the illegal type and all of the rest that were being used were very much under control. Again, thank you, Placitas!

The Fire Brigade is also proud to offer congratulations to a few of our members for advancing their medical training levels: Debby Brinkerhoff and Page Brown, for becoming Emergency Medical Technicians Intermediate and Stephen Snider for advancing to Emergency Medical Technician Paramedic. Our brigade also has the good fortune of the support of Jerry Temple. Jerry has completed training in Socorro at the state fire academy to become Firefighter 1 certified. If you know these people, please take the time to thank them for supporting their families and the Placitas community.

 


Santa Fe National Forest solicits public input on travel management

On July 10, the Santa Fe National Forest released its Proposed Action for Managing Motorized Travel, as part of a nationwide effort by the United States Forest Service to address unmanaged motorized recreation on national forests. The Proposed Action, or “scoping phase” is the first step under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“This reflects what the forest [service] has heard from the public for the past couple of years, combined with an initial analysis of what would best protect natural and cultural resources, minimize conflicts between users, and still provide access and motorized recreational opportunities on the forest,” announced Forest Supervisor Daniel Jiron. “We are asking the public to stay engaged through the process by providing comments and ideas within these next forty-five days and attending one of the thirteen public meetings scheduled. Public input is important and will add value to the environmental impact statement.”

“This proposal, is merely that—a proposal, a starting point,” said Jiron, “We’d like people to read the Proposed Action, view the maps on the website (www.fs.fed.us/r3/sfe/travelmgt), at Ranger Stations, at local libraries, and let us know, preferably in writing, if you’d like to suggest changes.”

The Proposed Action includes amending the forest plan to prohibit “off-road” driving across most of the forest. The Proposed Action will also propose to close numerous roads that are unnecessary or redundant, that cannot be adequately maintained, or that compromise the integrity of sensitive resources. However, adding some currently unauthorized or “user-created” routes to the forest transportation system is also proposed in order to provide access to points of interest and to maintain some loop-riding opportunities.

The Proposed Action will:

•Continue to provide motorized access to the forest;

•Prohibit cross-country motorized vehicle use off designated roads, trails, and areas;

•Reduce the miles of roads open to motorized travel;

•Increase the miles of trails designated for motorized vehicles;

•Designate motorized access to dispersed camping;

•Limit the use of motor vehicles to retrieve downed game to designated routes only; and

•Amend the Santa Fe National Forest Plan to comply with direction in the Rule.

Throughout this process, the Santa Fe National Forest has been committed to protecting values and traditional uses such as getting firewood, picking piñon, and managing livestock operations. “These activities and traditions are important and will continue on the Forest,” added Jiron.

The development of the Proposed Action is the start of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. The scoping period (forty-five-day comment period) is for the public to provide information on resource issues and concerns with the proposed action. The agency will next develop alternative proposals, based on public input received. The proposed action, alternatives, and a full analysis of the environmental effects of each alternative comprise the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). During the preparation of the DEIS (usually about eight to twelve months), the Forest Service will continue to welcome public comments. When the DEIS is completed, the public will have another forty-five-day “notice and comment” period. Based on the analysis and public input, the agency will make a decision, which will be published as a record of decision. The Forest Service plans to have the record of decision completed in 2009.

Public meetings will be held to address concerns regarding the decision. One will be in Rio Rancho on Tuesday, August 19 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Destiny Center, 4401 Northern Boulevard NE.

An Albuquerque meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 20 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the UNM Conference Center, Room B, 1634 University Boulevard NE.

A forty-five-day comment period will run from July 18 through September 2, 2008.

 


Decision made for Sandia Ranger District Travel Management Plan

On July 15, Cibola Forest Supervisor Nancy Rose, after careful consideration of the many public comments and review of the project analysis, issued a decision for the Environmental Assessment for Travel Management on the Sandia Ranger District. The legal notice of the decision was published in the newspaper of record, the Albuquerque Journal, on July 14, 2008.

The selected alternative four with modifications designates a system of roads and trails for public access and motorized recreation travel. This decision includes: Prohibiting cross-county motorized travel off of the designated system on the Sandia Ranger District. It prohibits motorized off-road travel in all areas of the forest north of I-40. This includes the La Madeira area east of Placitas. The only motorized access to this area is a pipeline service road that prohibits use by the general public. La Madeira borders other public and private lands that are relatively undeveloped and is considered to be an important wildlife corridor.

The decision designates the Cedro area south of I-40 for mixed motorized use, including 42.66 miles for motorcycle use, 1.76 miles for vehicles under fifty inches (ATVs and motorcycles) and 10.12 miles open to all vehicles (including OHVs).

There are also 7.02 miles designated for highway legal vehicles only. The decision includes approval to construct 3.5 miles of trails for motorized use to address resource and access concerns and one trailhead facility to accommodate motorized recreation. It also approves use of the Oak Area in the Oak Flat Picnic Ground as a motorized trailhead in addition to the reservation group picnic area use.

This decision will result in the publication of a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). Designations made with past decisions will also be shown on the MVUM. After the MVUM has been released, travel off the designated system will be prohibited unless authorized by permit or other authorization. The Environmental Assessment and Decision Notice/Finding of No Significant Impact can be obtained from the Supervisor’s Office at the Cibola National Forest Office, 2113 Osuna NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87113, or can be requested by phone at (505) 346-3900, by email at cibolatravel@fs.fed.us, or on the Sandia Ranger District Travel Management website at www.fs.fed.us/r3/cibola/travel-management/tm_sandia/index.shtml.

This decision is subject to appeal pursuant to regulations at 36 CFR 215.

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