A photo and an account from Jim Fish, of Anasazi
Fields Winery, in Placitas:
“This bear was seen in the Village of Placitas
on the evening of June 19, 2008. Someone called the Game and Fish
Department. The officer arrived, told us that he saw it, but that
it had put the slip on him, and left. The following evening, the
bear wandered through the winery. I was working in the office with
the door open and heard a noise. When I went out to investigate,
the bear strolled past me, within about five feet. It gave me a
look over its shoulder as it calmly exited the side door of the
tasting room. Must have been looking for sweet wine!
By the time I got my camera, he had moved on to
the neighbor’s yard. Several of us followed it until it slowly
made its way back to the arroyo. It did not seem aggressive or up
to any particular trouble. Hopefully, the bear is just grazing on
the fruit in the village and people will keep their garbage in containers
in secure areas.”
Cibola National Forest issues food-storage order to protect bears
The Cibola National Forest has issued a Forest Supervisor’s
Order that prohibits leaving food or garbage accessible to bears
and other wildlife in the Sandia and Mountainair Ranger Districts
of the Cibola National Forest (Order Number 03-0245). This Order
is effective immediately and will remain in effect until rescinded
or until December 31, 2008, whichever occurs first.
Many of the black bears frequenting and living in and around the
Sandia and Mountainair Ranger Districts have become habituated to
human food and have become a nuisance and safety concern. An ongoing
education program has been aimed at informing the public about proper
food storage and disposal of garbage; however, not all forest visitors
Habituated bears alter their natural food gathering activities,
searching for easily available food left unattended by campers,
picnickers, and other forest users. Human/bear encounters have become
more frequent and more dangerous as bears lose their natural fear
of humans. In the Sandia and Manzano Mountains, New Mexico Department
of Game and Fish personnel have trapped and relocated many bears.
In some cases, habituated bears have been euthanized.
The Forest Supervisor’s Order requires visitors to the Mountainair
and Sandia Ranger Districts to:
• Make sure food and garbage are unavailable to bears and
Do not leave food unattended on a picnic table, in your campsite,
or at your worksite.
Do not leave garbage bags unattended.
• Make sure food and garbage are “acceptably stored”
both day and night.
Store food in coolers or other containers and put them inside your
vehicle (preferably out of sight). Bears know what coolers are and
have broken into vehicles even with empty coolers left in plain
Place food in food storage lockers (where available).
Put garbage in the bear-resistant trash cans.
Take your garbage with you if trash cans are full or unavailable.
Food and garbage includes human food and beverages, pet food, personal
hygiene products such as toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc., and their
empty containers and wrappings.
Potential fines for violation of this Order could be up to $5,000
for individuals and $10,000 for organizations (36 CFR 261.50 (a)
and (b)). Do your part to make sure that our bears don’t have
to be relocated or euthanized because of human carelessness with
food or garbage.
Partial closures begin in forests
Beginning June 13, portions of the Cibola National Forest will
be closed. Fire danger remains extreme and warrants closing a number
of areas to visitors. “Closures are a last resort and they
are not taken lightly. We all must work together to keep our forest
as safe as possible, and this includes staying away from areas that
have been closed,” stated Forest Supervisor Nancy Rose. “Recent
isolated rain showers have brought little, if any, measurable moisture
to the forest,” she added.
Beginning at 8:00 a.m. on June 13, the following areas are affected:
Mountainair Ranger District: Red Canyon Campground is open daily
from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (day use only; no camping) and is accessible
only through Forest Road 253. Please note all trails accessible
from Red Canyon Campground are closed. All other campgrounds, trails,
and trailheads are closed.
The Manzano Mountain Wilderness is closed.
Roads remaining open include Forest Road 55 from NM State Road
55 in Tajique to the Forest Road 321 junction, Forest Road 55 on
the south end from NM State Road 55 junction in Torreon to Trail
Canyon Trailhead and Forest Road 422 from NM State Road 60 to Pine
The Gallinas Mountains near Corona are open; however, Red Cloud
Campground and Forest Road 99 are closed. Building, maintaining,
attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal broiler, coal or wood
stove are prohibited. All vehicles must remain on Forest roads.
Smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
For more information, contact Mark Chavez, Cibola National Forest
Supervisor’s Office at (505) 346-3900 or one of the following
district offices: Sandia Ranger District at (505) 281-3304 or the
Mountainair Ranger District at (505) 847-2990.
Additional fire information for the southwest area is available
PARTIAL CLOSURES BEGIN ON SANDIA RANGER DISTRICT
Please note that fireworks are never allowed in the Sandia Ranger
Beginning on June 16 at 8:00 a.m., portions of the Sandia Ranger
District on the Cibola National Forest will be closed.
“Our fuel moistures on the south end of the district warrant
additional restrictions for the safety of the community and resources,
“said Cid Morgan, District Ranger. “At this time, the
area north of I-40 has received more moisture and we will keep this
area open under Stage 2 restrictions for now. If dry weather continues,
we will implement additional restrictions north of I-40.”
Beginning at 8:00 a.m. on June 16, the following areas of the Sandia
Ranger District are affected:
Sandia Ranger District—south of I-40: Stage 3 restrictions
• Pine Flat Picnic Ground and Cedro Group Campground are
the only areas open south of I-40.
• All other areas are closed south of I-40.
• No hiking/motorized vehicles allowed in back-country or
• No campfires/no charcoal/no stoves. (Cold picnics only
• Smoking in vehicles only.
North of I-40: Stage 2 restrictions
• No campfires/no charcoal.
• Pressurized liquid or gas stoves, lanterns, and heaters
meeting safety specifications are allowed.
• Smoking in vehicles only.
• No motorized vehicles off roads.
For more information, contact the Sandia Ranger District at (505)
For further information about closures and restrictions
in the Cibola National Forest, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/cibola/.
Additional fire information for the southwest area is available
Picnic Area closed due to tree fall
The Cienega Picnic Area in the Sandia Ranger District has been
closed due to the falling of hazard trees. “Damage due to
massive bug kill during the last few years in the area has weakened
these trees to a point where they are falling faster than we can
remove the hazard. Unfortunately, the only solution at this point
is to close the area until we can remove the hazards and have it
safe for visitors,” said Cid Morgan, District Ranger.
While visiting your National Forests be aware. Look up and around
before having your picnic or while hiking, just to be safe.
Exit forested areas during high winds and please stay out of the
Cienega Picnic area for your safety.
Should you have any questions or concerns please contact the Sandia
Ranger District at 505-281-3304.
Save $, save the planet—drive 55!
Drive 55—what does that mean? Did you know there’s
a grass-roots movement in this country to drive no more than fifty-five
mph on the freeways, instead of our usual sixty-five, seventy-five,
or eighty-plus? Now, nobody wants this mandated by law (as it was
in the 1970s)—and you should only do it when there is a right-hand
lane for slower vehicles—but the www.Drive55.org
website estimates that if enough drivers joined this movement, we
could save significant amounts of gasoline and reduce carbon emissions
as well. The Kyoto Charts (from Earthfuture.com) show that each
gallon of gasoline emits about twenty pounds of carbon dioxide.
Another chart from www.fueleconomy.gov
(Department of Energy—EPA) shows that average gas mileage
decreases rapidly at speeds above fifty-five mph. Your truck or
SUV will probably be worse.
For example, I have a 2001 Chrysler that usually gets about twenty-five
mpg. When I started using the Drive 55 program, the mileage went
to thirty mpg. I was amazed at how much difference little changes
like this can make. It takes me about $50 to fill up my tank and
getting another five mpg (a twenty percent increase) means I save
about $10 a couple times a week. That can add up fast. Other comparable
stories are on the Drive 55 website.
Of course, not everyone can do this, especially truckers and delivery
people, but any significant decrease in gasoline usage will help
balance the oil supply/demand formula that is currently stacked
against us. Records from the 1970s and 1980s indicate that the accident
rates also drop dramatically as more people drive fifty-five mph.
You may be saying, “I don’t have time to go slower.”
But maybe you do, if you plan for it. A typical trip from Albuquerque
to downtown Santa Fe increases from forty-five minutes to one hour—only
fifteen minutes more. A typical trip to Albuquerque from the Bernalillo
Bridge goes from twenty minutes to twenty-five minutes—just
five minutes more. And I’ll bet once you get used to it, the
trip will be a lot less stressful.
At first, however, you’ll feel like you’re crawling
and all those cars and trucks whizzing past you will be a little
disconcerting. That’s why I got a bumper sticker that says
“I Drive 55,” so people don’t think I’m
just an enfeebled old codger that shouldn’t be driving any
more. Get enough bumper stickers out there, and more people will
get the idea. After all, we’re helping decrease pollution,
increase gasoline supplies (and hopefully lower or stabilize prices),
and doing our bit to decrease global warming by reducing our personal
So why aren’t the country’s leaders talking this up
big-time as they did during the last big energy crisis? Perhaps,
they all have too much money invested in big oil company stocks
or too many Middle Eastern friends? But you know what? We don’t
need a leader from either party to tell us what we could do. We,
the people, can take the initiative and join this movement to make
a real difference. Drive 55; save money… and save the planet.
For more information, visit http://www.drive55.org/;