Otero County, New Mexico’s board of commissioners approved a resolution this week to oppose the US National Forest’s Service’s plans for Lincoln National Forest for the next ten to fifteen years.
The resolution was passed earlier this month as county officials claim the federal government failed to contact county officials regarding the management of the 1.1 million-acre national forest.
The letter drafted by the commissioners lists several concerns about the federal plan as it relates to designated grazing areas, use of land unsuitable for wildlife, and the use of prescribed burns to mitigate wildfire damage. A second letter also claims the plan is insufficient because the US government did not reach out to local officials to create the plan, as is outlined by law.
A spokesperson for the US National Forest Service, Laura Rabon, commented on the Lincoln Forest conflict, saying the government made several attempts to allow the county to weigh in on the Lincoln National Forest Plan.
“I want people to know that we really have tried to reach out to the county,” Rabon said. “We invited them on numerous occasions to participate, to comment, to take the next step and become a cooperating agency and, unfortunately, we haven’t heard back from them,” Rabon said.
She also pointed out that US Forests even extended the deadline for comments by a month from November 15 to December 15, and that the county’s letter opposing the plan was only received on December 15.
Rabon said the county could have received cooperating agency status, which would put them in direct cooperation with US Forest officials regarding the plan, but the county’s attempts to reach out were unsuccessful. The final plan is expected to be prepared by Spring, according to a report by the Alamogordo News.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: YAHOO NEWS
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