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letters, opinions, editorials
re: one Placitas!
The so-called Placitas Area Planning Meeting on July 17 was a sham.
The planner and whoever gave him his marching orders had already
made a decision to split Placitas in two and to someday rename the
area from Ranchos de Placitas all the way to I-25. And Diamond Tail
will just be out there, somewhere? How do you feel about the prospect
of living in the Planning Department’s nameless orphanage?
Our property deeds say we live in Placitas, New Mexico. The arbitrary
decision to bisect Placitas “for planning purposes”
is bad. Never mind what extraterritorial interests the Town of Bernalillo
might possibly have. Those can be a component of a unified plan
for all of Placitas. None of us had prior notification that we would
be disenfranchised in this way. It’s time for those who are
affected and/or offended by this treatment to unite politically,
regardless of national party affiliation, so that our interests
will be fairly represented in county government. If it’s bad
for one part of Placitas, it’s bad for all of Placitas.
—FLOYD COTTON, Placitas
re: blind copy your bulk emails!
I recently received a politically motivated email discrediting
one of the presidential candidates who recently toured in the Middle
East and Europe. The bogus content of the message is not what I
am upset about. My name and email address appeared in the To: line
of the message, along with dozens of other names to which the message
was being forwarded. In the body of the message were lists of other
names to which the message had previously been forwarded. I do not
like having my private email address made available to every kook
and political nut job in the world. I find this very offensive,
in fact. So, I offer this advice: If you must forward a message
to a large group of people who may not know one another, and with
whom they may not wish to share their private email address, place
the list of names in the BCC: address block in your email, so only
the recipient’s name appears on each message. And if you must
forward a much-forwarded message in which other recipients have
been listed in the body of the email, take a moment to delete these
names before you forward the message.
—GARY W. PRIESTER, Placitas
Planning for Placitas
The need to treat the Placitas area as a whole
—STEPHEN M. BARRO
Sandoval County planning authorities have expressed their intention
to develop a Community Area Plan for Placitas. This planning exercise
could be valuable for Placitas residents and for all Sandoval County,
but unfortunately, it has started off on the wrong foot in one fundamental
respect. The County’s long-range planner, Mr. Moises Gonzalez,
wants to create a plan that covers only a certain portion, or subarea,
of Placitas, not the Placitas area as a whole. This fractional approach,
if implemented, would yield a subarea plan of dubious validity and
limited usefulness, needlessly throwing away most of the potential
benefit of the planning activity.
Other commentators on the proposed approach have already explained
that certain attributes of the Placitas area argue strongly for
a plan that covers the area as a whole—e.g., that Placitas
is a community with a strong identity, recognized as a well-defined
entity by multiple official bodies (the Census Bureau, Post Office,
Sandoval public safety authorities, etc.), and endowed with numerous
institutions that serve the entire area. The following remarks address
a completely different set of reasons why Placitas needs to be treated
as a single unit—namely, that certain physical, technical,
and economic considerations make such treatment essential for producing
a coherent, sound, defensible, and useful community plan.
TRANSPORTATION: HIGHWAY 165 AND OTHER ROADS
Transportation is one of the key topics to be addressed by any
community area plan. The Placitas area, extending from I-25 to Diamond
Tail, is served by a single main highway, NM Highway 165. Development
anywhere along this highway will affect traffic conditions, and
hence the quality of transportation, facing residents all along
its length. For example, more intensive development in the eastern
section of Placitas would generate increased traffic flow (perhaps
with attendant congestion, noise, accidents, etc.) in the western
portion, and more intensive development in the western portion would
affect the duration and convenience of trips to I-25 by residents
of the eastern section. For this reason, it would be unreasonable
to formulate a plan for development along any one portion of the
Highway 165 corridor, or along any of its side roads, without taking
into account implications for traffic along the entire corridor.
Likewise, an assessment of requirements for, and costs of, road
maintenance and traffic regulation in Placitas would be of little
value if it did not cover the full road network. The usefulness
of the transportation component of a Placitas plan would depend
strongly, therefore, on the plan’s being framed to cover the
Placitas area as a whole.
RETAIL AND COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY
Another major component of a community development plan would be
(presumably) an assessment of future needs, if any, for further
retail and commercial development and the land use (including zoning)
implications thereof. The key economic consideration in defining
the appropriate area for retail/commercial planning is that separate
subareas of Placitas, such as those delineated by Mr. Gonzales,
do not correspond to separate markets for goods and services. To
estimate needs for further retail/commercial development, it would
be necessary to project the potential demand for locally provided
goods and services generated by the whole Placitas area population.
For example, to assess the economic viability of, say, additional
retail outlets in or around Placitas Village, one would have to
estimate prospective demand not just from households in that immediate
subarea, but also from households in the western section of Placitas
and in Diamond Tail. Such an analysis would have to examine the
demographic and economic characteristics of households throughout
the market area and then link those characteristics to purchasing
behavior. An analysis limited to only a subpart of the market area
could not generate the requisite information. This, then, is a second
reason why only a plan encompassing the whole area could be expected
to yield meaningful results.
Issues of water availability and water quality invariably come
to the fore in any discussion of development in Placitas. Any change
in the density or character of development, residential or nonresidential,
that would increase water consumption has the potential to affect
water supply not only in the immediate area of such development
but throughout the Placitas corridor. The aquifers from which we
extract our water do not start and stop at political boundaries,
and certainly not at the arbitrary boundary between subareas shown
on Mr. Gonzalez’s map. Drawing more water from wells on one
side of the boundary will affect the yield from wells on the other
side. Suppose, for example, that a development plan for the proposed
eastern subarea were to include provisions for multiple-unit housing
within the large, currently undeveloped tracts at and around the
Placitas fire station and library site—that is, the Cashwell
and Grevey-Lieberman properties. Obviously, the impact on water
supply would not be confined to those tracts, or to the eastern
planning subarea, but would also be felt in the neighboring subdivisions
and water districts (most of which Mr. Gonzalez has chosen—perhaps
a bit too cleverly—to exclude from the subarea containing
the aforementioned properties). Given the physical realities, an
assessment of water issues covering only a part of Placitas would
not qualify as technically sound because it would neglect the wider
impacts on water supply and the attendant costs of the development
options under consideration. Thus, there is a third strong reason—the
need to deal comprehensively with water issues—to produce
a plan that covers the Placitas area as a whole.
PUBLIC SAFETY SERVICES
Existing police, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) for
the Placitas area are designed, organized, and staffed to serve
the area as a whole, and this will certainly remain true in the
future. No one—certainly not the Sandoval County government—would
contemplate establishing separate services for separate planning
zones. The question thus arises of whether a plan covering just
a fraction of Placitas territory can deal adequately with needs
for, and means of, providing these vital services. There are two
reasons why the answer is “no.” First, there are major
economies of scale in the provision of these services. One cannot
simply add up the resources that would be needed to serve each subarea
separately to determine what is needed to serve the area as a whole.
Second, consideration of the locational and land-use dimensions
of service provision logically cannot be constrained by the boundaries
of a subarea. For instance, if it were determined that additional
or enlarged fire stations were needed to serve proposed new developments
in the eastern subarea, it would not necessarily follow that such
facilities should be located within that zone; the optimal location
might be further to the west or along the road to Diamond Tail.
But there would be no rational basis for selecting the best locations
without enlarging the scope of planning to include all of Placitas.
We have, therefore, yet another example of why a broad-area planning
perspective makes more sense.
There are other elements of planning that also could be better
addressed by covering all, rather than just part, of Placitas—for
instance, planning for recreational, cultural, and social welfare
services, for housing development, and for the location of any future
public schools—but the foregoing discussion of four selected
elements suffices to establish a general conclusion:
A planning exercise covering only the eastern subarea of Placitas
would be unable to take adequate account of some basic factors fundamental
to planning: underlying physical facts (as in the example of water
supply), the capabilities and limitations of our public infrastructure
(as in the example of highway transportation), the realities of
the local market for goods and services (as in the example of retail/commercial
development), and the logic underlying decisions about service provision
(as in the example of public safety services). It is difficult to
see how a planning strategy deficient in all these respects could
yield a valid, useful, or even professionally respectable product.
The way to make the planning process worthwhile and to achieve meaningful
results is to recognize the Placitas area for what it is—a
physically, geographically, and economically well-defined community
that needs to be treated as whole.
re: “Drive 55” article
I’ve been getting questions on the “Drive 55”
article last month [“Save money; save the planet—drive
55,” Signpost, July 2008]. Specifically, people don’t
understand how you can get twenty pounds of carbon from a six-pound
gallon of gasoline. Turns out, it has to do with the amount of carbon
released to produce as well as burn that gallon of gas. The extra
carbon is from fuel burned to drill for oil, fuel burned to ship
the oil to a refiner, lots of carbon released at the refinery, more
fuel burned to transport it to your local gas station, and finally,
fuel you burn to go get it. So every gallon saved really does have
a large carbon impact. Thanks for asking.
—LINDA HEATH, Placitas
re: in defense of Placitas’s history and
In the past few months, three things have given me the will for
defending the history and future of historic Placitas. Most of us
in Placitas rely on the Signpost for all information, due to not
having an incorporated town or a county board.
First I read “Around Town” in the May issue, where
Vivian B. DeLara wrote “When and how the acequias of Las Placitas
were constructed.” Acequias are the first form of government
in New Mexico and I earn one water right each year in May when I
help clean the ditches held since San Antonio de Las Huertas Land
Grant took possession of a Spanish Land Grant in 1768. Vivian’s
article touched my heart, since I have always had a passion for
history and preservation.
The second thing that happened was that on July 16, I was asked
by my land grant heir neighbor to defend our historic acequias from
a development that is under appeal from the land grant which now
can become a New Mexico Political Subdivision under state statute
preserving New Mexico Land Grants. I testified in favor of this
appeal before my many friends of Corrales before I sold myself out
of Corrales ten years ago to live in Lincoln, New Mexico. See, I
prefer to live in beautiful places that never change, and many Placitas
folks feel that way, but we have to work very hard to assure that
dream stays true. As I spoke to the Sandoval County Commission,
I was wondering how many Placitas residents live in Placitas and,
more importantly, how many P&Z board members live in Placitas.
After all, the historic village of Placitas is the most important
heritage site in all of Sandoval County, along with the oldest Sandia
cave and the first American pueblos.
The third thing that happened that made my fingers do the walking
was reading the Signpost July issue and coming upon “The Gauntlet”
section where the question was, ‘why the zone change?’
Bernalillo is going through an incredible infill development to
accommodate the greatest infrastructure project of all time in New
Mexico—the Rail Runner. Kathy Johnson asked the question of
S-U zoning, and her answer was greed, like in the movie “Wall
Street.” I am like Kathy. Placitas has no business with town
homes and condos. We should be able to walk out our driveways every
night and see the black skies with stars.
The most important thought that triggered me was, “I think
we need a Placitas Land Trust.” When I lived in Corrales for
fourteen years, I considered the same idea to save the orchards,
many of which are now gone. We have orchards in historic Placitas
that can be saved if we have the will to make that change and make
decisions before Sandoval County and the Town of Bernalillo do it
for us. It can start with a Placitas Preservation Board appointed
by the Sandoval County Commission. This has been successful for
years in the City of Santa Fe and historic Lincoln where I was chairman
and board member for eight years. The review process should start
in Placitas where recommendations and decisions can be sent to the
County with the assistance of Sandoval County Development Division
and Legal Division. Now is the time to ask for this.
I ask the residents of Placitas if you have the will to help me
establish a board of directors. With every resident as a member
of the Placitas Heritage Trust, we could make an immediate difference,
as I become the founding member of this Community-Based Land Conservation
Non-greed Organization. Its mission will address public access to
scenic lands and water, preservation, education, youth, recreational
trails, farmland, and wildlife habitat through the trust of easements
on private land, land owned by Placitas Land Trust, and conservation
easements owned through leaving a lasting legacy naming the trust
in your will.
I just returned from Quebec City, which was celebrating its 400th
anniversary—the most beautiful and oldest city in North America
(just behind Santa Fe, which will celebrate its 400th in 2009).
Let’s take ownership of our historic Placitas by celebrating
our heritage in our little slice of heaven surrounded and protected
by Cibola Forest, BLM, and I-25.
—TT HAGAMAN, Placitas
State of Bernalillo
— MAX SMELLING
Greetings from West Bernalillo!
More and more people are starting to catch on. This little problem
in Bernalillo that yours truly has been ranting on and on about
ain’t so little after all. A town government running amok
down here in the valley can also affect the folks in Placitas—big
While we fight our battles against poorly designed developments
that are clearly outside the law, our neighbors up the hill are
having the war taken to them.
Our mayor isn’t satisfied with overdeveloping Bernalillo.
This town just isn’t big enough to suit her agenda, so she
looks to the east. State law allows the legal taking of territories
up to three miles from town limits. Look at the dollar signs and
the direction is obvious.
The fact that town government has trouble taking care of what we
have today doesn’t inhibit her need for more and more.
Developer Tom Ashe presented his plans for Petroglyph Trails—located
north and west of Placitas Trails—to the P&Z Commission
in early June. It will feature a light industrial area (M-1), and
some commercial (C-1) along I-25; to the east, different types of
housing including high-density townhouses (R-2). The plan requires
eventually giving the responsibility for maintenance of the public
infrastructure, fire, police, ambulance, etc. to Bernalillo. Bad
When Mr. Ashe and the Gudeljs let Bernalillo take over, we all
lose—all of us except the ACC (the “Architectural Control
Committee” to us peons). No, the ACC will do just fine. They
have set themselves up to be the Petroglyph Trails’ version
of Town Council and Planning and Zoning Commission rolled into one.
They will rule the $350 million development and Bernalillo will
just let them do it!
And how can this happen, you may wonder? Sorry, you’ll have
to ask the good Mayor and her P&Z director why she needs to
But if you want to know what procedure employed by our elected
officials facilitates this absence of good intentions toward our
town and Placitas, it’s simple. They’ll use their old
friend, Special Use (SU) zoning.
If you’re new to my rantings, using SU zoning takes the approval
procedures in a development and gives them to the P&Z officer.
In this case, he then gives administrative and planning and zoning
control to his good buddies in the ACC.
The proper zoning technique would be to use the R-1, R-2, C-1,
C-R, M-1, and the Bernalillo Subdivision Regulations. But then the
ACC wouldn’t be able to do whatever they want. The SU gives
them free reign!
Another surprise—among many waiting in the wings—is
called One Placitas Center. The odds are pretty good that this business
park—complete with bank, supermarket, restaurants, offices
and retail, etc.—will also be zoned outside the law. Anytime
a property is subdivided, it must follow Bernalillo Subdivision
Regulations. Unless every business leases from the development owner—not
likely—the land under them will be subdivided. The zoning?
If the town annexes this area, located right below Piedra Lisa
Dam, the resources of Bernalillo will once again be stretched. The
extra congestion around the NM 550/I-25/NM 165 interchange will
also add to commuters’ misery.
So, my friends, when Bernalillo gobbles up what they can of Placitas,
remember this day—the day you were warned of the impending
rape of your neighbors’ lands, and the day you could have
taken action to fight for your rights.
For those of you who have the guts to join the battle, while there
is still time, let’s get it on! The best way to fight this
is in the courts. You’ve got to lawyer up and make a stand.
When a town government acts outside the law, look to the courts
to defend the law. This is America!
TBB (Take Back Bernalillo) is for Placitans, too. We all want to
keep the rural flavor. So, call them at 867-3362 or email Max at
email@example.com. Maybe a bi-community meeting should be held
to discuss the annexation problem?
This just in: Town staff has passed the news to some locals that
the use of eminent domain is beginning in the Transit-oriented-development
area. First on the chopping block is ex-Commissioner Sapien’s
five-acre field in the Mountain View area of Bernalillo. This, after
they promised an angry group of citizens that condemning property
wouldn’t be done. Who is next?
The Signpost does not necessarily agree
or take responsibility for the content of this editorial.
re: Las Huertas Creek RIP
Many Placitans who live along Las Huertas Creek have noticed that
there has been no spring run-off this year, even though we had a
good snowpack last winter. After some research, we found that all
the surface water in the creek is being diverted at the north end
of the National Forest. A call to the Forest Service office informed
us that the Las Placitas Association had water rights to the creek
and was behind the diversion, but members of the association say
that the entire creek is now being used for irrigation in the village
by the Las Huertas Ditch Association.
Additionally, there are a couple of individuals downstream from
the seep springs north of the village who have nominated themselves
‘majordomos’ of long-defunct irrigation systems to capture
all the water that flows from the springs. They have been digging
new ditches on neighboring properties to take this last bit of the
creek for their own uses.
It’s sad, but it seems that Las Huertas Creek is a creek
no more, just another dry arroyo to carry rainwater down to the
—A RESIDENT, Placitas
re: the sun
Last winter I spent three months house-sitting here in Placitas
at the far end of Cedar Creek. The house was outfitted to produce
electricity from the sun, with most of the solar panels on the roof.
Because the owners knew they were going to need a long-term house-sitter,
they ran power to the house and wired the place so that with the
flip of a switch, I could step away from solar and get onto the
PNM electrical grid.
Over three winter months, I was on the PNM grid for a grand total
of two hours. I don’t believe that America’s best days
are over. I do believe that almost all of our politicians have betrayed
—GREG LEICHNER, Placitas
Re: Placitas Area Planning
In the mid-1990s, Diamond Tail requested and Sandoval County agreed
to modify the Placitas Area definition to exempt Diamond Tail from
the more stringent Placitas Appendix of the Subdivision Ordinance.
I was disappointed during the recent July 17 Public Planning Session
to see that the County again exempted Diamond Tail from Placitas
Area planning. The rationale given this time was that Diamond Tail
already has an approved “Master Plan”. This rationale/excuse
1. The so-called “Master Plan” addresses less than
10% of the Diamond Tail Ranch.
2. The County is allowing Diamond Tail to ignore the terms of the
so-called “Master Plan”:
(a)The Phase II Subdivision, about to be approved by the County,
is more than twice the size that the so-called “Master Plan”
specifies (142 vs. 60 lots).
(b)The County has failed to have Diamond Tail revise the so-called
“Master Plan” to exclude land they do not own.
Diamond Tail growth now, and even more in the future, imposes
an impact upon the rest of the Placitas Area (schools, traffic,
water, taxes, etc.). Unless the County can provide a good reason
why Diamond Tail should be granted yet another special exemption
from County planning, this cycle of Placitas Area planning should
include Diamond Tail.
—BOB WESSELY, Placitas
re: Patrick Lives
Dear Friends Back East,
Thanks for inquiring about Patrick’s health following his
multiple tooth extractions. I’m glad to report that this fine
old Maine Coon cat and retired serial killer is progressing nicely.
As we speak, he is laying in the middle of the bed, flat on his
back, with his rear pantaloon-like legs extending up and outwards.
Except for the snoring, he resembles an otter poised to smash open
a clam shell on his belly.
I doubt that he is aware he has feline acquired immune deficiency
syndrome (AIDS), which has reduced his ability to fight off infections
(e.g., dental-related), and he continues to move gracefully forward
in this particular life.
Patrick almost didn’t make it to this point, however. Last
week, a day before his dental surgery and while loitering in his
fenced-in patio, he suddenly embarked on a friendly approach towards
a coyote he saw casually loping along outside the wire barrier.
Trickster Coyote could scarcely believe his luck, i.e. a sizable,
savory delicacy, albeit quite furry, approaching with large, yellow-eyed
innocence just wanting to be friends. Perhaps he could entice this
gastronomical miracle into touching noses through the wire fence.
So Coyote stopped and waited, with a big, big smile on his handsome
Fortunately, I happened to look up from my bowl of generic Cheerios
(with sliced bananas and a few blueberries, but no sugar) in time
to fling open the patio door and intercede in this impending tragedy.
Noting my heroic and life-saving presence, Trickster Coyote delayed
an instant before retreating, flashing me a very toothy grin that
said, “Now I know where he lives. Happy trails, bro.”
Later that afternoon, sipping a few fingers of uncommonly corrosive,
but cheap vodka, I wondered if Patrick hadn’t intuitively
become aware of his appointment with a dental surgeon and decided
upon committing suicide-by-coyote rather than face the coming ordeal.
But I came to realize that Patrick was just behaving the way he
always had, i.e., seldom if ever fearing “dogs,” always
considering the possibility he was one himself. For example, in
his Rhode Island years, he became fast friends with two marvelous
Golden Retrievers (Darby and Celli) who lived across the street.
Patrick risked cars, trucks, and more motorcycles per square inch
than any place on the planet, to cross the street and hang out with
them. Occasionally, he joined them on their neighborhood walks,
doggedly trotting along between them. He closely resembled his mates
in color if not size. Patrick was, of course, forced to execute
far more footfalls per minute than his canine friends and usually
abandoned his physical commitment after a couple of blocks. He was
also disgusted by all that stopping and sniffing by his companions
of extraordinarily loathsome puddles and stuff en route.
As he sleeps, I wonder if he dreams of his previous lives. Perhaps
he vaguely recalls his days as a Rhode Island vagrant before we
encountered him that cold winter day. When we found him in the frozen
garden behind our house, staring at the door, the area behind each
ear was a red, gory mash from his futile attempts to dig out the
tormenting mites that lived within. Clumps of dried blood decorated
his chest fur. He was cold, filthy, and starving. His silent, determined
wait outside our back door that frigid December morning seemed to
indicate a final and forlorn hope and that his perseverance was
at an end.
Now, years later in a beautiful land far away, he frequently sits
with me as I read outside. Smelling of Friskies salmon dinner and
purring with such force that his body jerks, he relaxes on an adjoining
table. Occasionally, he looks up and provides me with a soft penetrating
stare that seems to say, “Thanks for everything, Boss. For
me, it’s all gravy the rest of the way.” Thanks for
writing. Patrick sends his love.
re: Signpost sale
Wowie, wowie, this is big news! Not even a hint of this in the
last issue we received! Tell us more. Did you just get an offer
you couldn’t refuse, or have you been contemplating selling
for some time? Will Lalo still have a column? Will you still write
some articles, or are you on the complete retirement track? I’m
guessing you will be getting back to your art, among other things,
and Ty will continue to pursue every outdoor sport known to man!
By the way, I loved his “stay-cation” article [Signpost,
July 2008].We’re finding more and more things to do locally
and enjoying it, too. You don’t plan to leave Placitas, do
you? Well, whatever your plans are, congratulations on the amazing
job you have done over the years to take the Signpost from mimeographed
sheets to what it is today—an informative and entertaining
local newspaper. We love reading it, and we don’t even live
there! I do hope the new owners will keep the quality up to the
standards you developed over the years. It does sound like this
couple has the right kind of young enthusiastic blood and the news
experience to do a good job.
—JEANIE SCHWAB, Cupertino
re: OHV use and “nature-based recreation”
I don’t know which is worse, being gerrymandered into Bernalillo
or tom-thumbed by the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) Service Proposed
Action for Managing Motorized Travel.
The day the proposal was released, I heard on KUNM radio that
the SFNF proposal was expanding the Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) trails
in the Santa Fe Forest! The SFNF actually has only five miles of
designated OHV trail in the entire forest! So any designation over
five miles is expanding? Foul! This is deceptive! The Blackfeathers
Trail Preservation Alliance submitted a Citizens’ Alternative
to include the traditional user-created trail routes, all in the
Jemez Mountains, that have been in use for thirty years. Within
the Citizens’ Alternative was 510 miles of GPS single-track
trails. The SFNF proposal allows only 140 miles of single-track
trails! Expanded? Motorcycle trail riding requires many more miles
of trail than hikers require. One hundred and forty miles of trail
would be about three days riding… over and over again. Surely
a smaller number of trails will result in the overuse that the SFNF
claims they want to avoid!
After asking for and getting our input at many meetings all over
the state, the SFNF ignored what we had to say. Several SFNF personnel
admitted they never read our Citizens’ Alternative! We asked
for loops like most national forests have designated, and what we
got was a series of widely-disconnected single-track segments. The
trail segments are connected by way too many miles of road segments
which are generally boring. The recreational experience of single-track
riding is essentially lost. The thirty-year existing trail network
has evolved to meet the needs of the current riding community and
is regularly ridden. A tremendous amount of volunteer work (one-hundred-plus
man days, typically) goes into maintaining the trail network each
year. All the trails requested are regularly maintained by volunteers.
Many GPS trails were omitted from the proposal, which is not in
the spirit of the process and is improper. We will protest all of
the omitted trails and request that they be put in the proposal
to be analyzed by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.
That is how the Travel Management Rule is meant to be implemented.
The scope of this proposal is very narrow and does not meet the
intent of the Travel Management Rule. The intent of the Travel Management
Rule is “revising regulations regarding travel management
on National Forest System lands to clarify policy related to motor
vehicle use, including the use of off-highway vehicles.” It
is not intended to be a means to eliminate or even drastically reduce
motorized recreation on National Forests.
The facts are that OHV use in New Mexico has been on the increase
over the past twenty years and “nature-based recreation”
has been declining at a rate of one percent a year (Pergams and
Zaradic). I believe the SFNF is stuck in the past and does not recognize
a “fundamental and pervasive shift” since the 1980s
away from Thoreau’s “walk in the woods” to OHV
use as a “nature-based recreation.”
Again, the scope of this proposal is far too narrow and needs to
be widened to include the present-day users. New trails will be
required to meet expected future expansion of the OHV community.
If this proposal is implemented, it will result in a significant
reduction in the trail riding community, which will in turn result
in fewer visits to the SFNF, and have negative economic effects
on the community.
—DAVE ROCKWELL, Placitas