The Sacramento District Review – May 2012

In this Month’s Issue:
New Changes to Your Favorite Recreation Sites
Dry Forest Conditions
Evening Lecture Series
Camping 101- Outdoor Ethics for the Woods
The Ranger’s Report
The Sacramento District Review is a monthly newsletter prepared by the Sacramento Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest.


New Changes to Your Favorite Recreation Sites

-Heather Berman

New shelter at Sleepygrass picnic area.

Over the last couple of years there have been some great updates to recreation facilities on the Sacramento Ranger District. The Sleepygrass campground was renovated, a portion of the Sleepygrass picnic area was upgraded, and the Osha trailhead was relocated.

The Sleepygrass campground was completely renovated with the exception of the existing modern restrooms. The road into the campground was paved including the parking lots and pull-outs. All the camping sites were rebuilt with new tent pads, picnic tables, fire rings, and access trails. New trash receptacles were added throughout the campground and the water system was upgraded.

The Sleepygrass picnic area was partially upgraded adding more features for recreation users to utilize. Already existing at the site was a modern restroom and parking space. In this phase of the upgrade, four picnic areas were added, including one shelter.

Each new site includes a picnic table, fire ring, access trail, and site pad. A trash receptacle was also added. Look for more upgrades this summer to this day-use only site.

The Osha Trailhead was relocated in preparation for the redesign of the Mexican Canyon Trestle Vista. The new trailhead offers ample parking space, three picnic tables, and a new ½ mile section of trail. Halfway up the new section of trail are two new benches and the Osha Vista. From these benches visitors can take in the amazing views of the Mexican Canyon Trestle and the Tularosa Basin.

Rerouted section of Lucas Canyon Trail.

In 2011, the Mexican Canyon Trestle Vista was redesigned, the Lucas Canyon Trail was rerouted, the James Canyon Campground was repaired, and construction began on the Bridal Veil Falls Trail.
The Mexican Canyon Trestle Vista was significantly redesigned, and Highway 82 was shifted over to add a new parking lot. A new viewing platform was engineered jutting over the edge of the mountain that offers amazing views of the trestle and canyon.

Interpretative signs, benches, a sidewalk, and a highway divider were added to the site. Twice a day visitors can hear a train whistle blow honoring the long standing history of the railroad.

The Lucas Canyon Trail was relocated for erosion and user safety concerns. Approximately 1.5 miles of the southern end of the trail was rerouted out of the canyon bottom onto an old logging road. The remaining 3.5 miles of trail was re-graded to help reduce erosion, and was signed as closed.

The James Canyon Campground was repaired after it was burned in the 2011 Mayhill Fire. A bridge that provided access to camp sites across the creek was replaced due to significant structural damage. All six campsites were rebuilt with new pads and fire rings. A new trash receptacle, highway fence, and traffic boulders replaced damaged facilities that could not be salvaged.

New bridge at James Canyon Campground.

Construction of the Bridal Veil Falls Trail began in the fall of 2011 and continues today. The hiking trail is still being improved in some sections for trail users. Two trail bypasses were constructed to go around historic trestle crossings that have collapsed, and erosion damage was repaired to trail standards.

Currently, the construction of a bridge across a perennial stream is in progress. Damage to culverts and other water drainages are also being repaired, directional signs are being designed, and location maps are being created.

For more information on these projects and other exciting work taking place in the recreation program please contact the Sacramento Ranger District at 575-682-2551.

And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me and I’ll proudly stand next to him to defend her still today, ‘cuz there ain’t no doubt I love this land, god bless the USA.

-Lee Greenwood

A mother’s heart is a patchwork of love.

-Author unknown


Dry Forest Conditions

The Sacramento Ranger District would like to remind visitors and area residents that dry conditions exist in the forest due to the lack of moisture this winter and spring.

All district fire crews and engines have started work and are prepared for the upcoming fire season.
Be extremely careful with campfires, trash fires, and other potential ignition sources.

Please visit the Southwest Coordination Center, which provides fire information, logistics and predictive services at:


Evening Lecture Series

Our Evening Lecture Series continued with a great crowd on April 12th for a presentation on the effects of drought on trees.

The May Lecture Series topic is “Wildlife of the Sacramento Mountains.”

The Sacramento Mountains are an incredibly diverse natural landscape. Its natural life forms range from the Chihuahuan Desert floor to sub-alpine vegetation above the tree line. With such a diverse range of “life zones”, a variety of plants and animals exist.

To gain a better understanding of the species and habitats found in the Sacramento’s, please join us at the Sacramento Ranger District from 6 –7 p.m. at the district office, #4 Lost Lodge Road in Cloudcroft on May 10th.

Upcoming Lecture Series dates:
June 14 – New Mexico OHV Regulations

For additional information please call 575-682-2551.


Camping 101- Outdoor Ethics for the Woods

-Heather Berman

Welcome to the Sacramento Ranger District! Here are some general tips and guidelines to remember when you are camping in the woods.

Information and Preparation Can Be Your Best Friend

Anytime you go into the woods be prepared for the unexpected. Bring extra clothes, food, and water in case the weather changes, vehicles breakdown, or your dog runs away.

Stop by the district office or the Cloudcroft Chamber of Commerce to get up-to-date information on the area you will be visiting, fire restrictions, and suggested activities.

Choosing the Best Location To Camp

When choosing a location to camp, pick an area that has already been disturbed and that is in good condition. Leave areas that are vegetated alone to protect the plants and animals that live there, and to keep areas natural for all to enjoy.

If You Brought It, Take It With You

Most people who come to the woods appreciate a trash free forest. Accidents happen, but whatever you bring with you from home make sure you take it home. This includes orange peels, cigarette butts, event location signs, and anything else you can think of.

Be Careful with Fire

Before you even leave home, PLEASE, check to see if there are fire restrictions by calling the district office at 575-682-2551. If campfires are not permitted plan some other way to keep warm or to cook your food.
When campfires are permitted remember to use existing fire rings, keep your fires small, and burn only pieces of wood a child could carry. Every time you leave your campsite put your fire out. COMPLETELY!

Keep Nature Wild

Watching wildlife is cool but watch them from a distance. Human food is unhealthy for all wildlife and feeding them starts bad habits, which can get them killed.


The Ranger’s Report

– James Duran

James Duran, District Ranger

The Lincoln National Forest has a lot happening beneath the surface that many people don’t think about. The mountains of Lincoln National Forest, including the Sacramento District, contain areas of limestone rock which is unique in that it can be dissolved by water mixed with a weak acid from the environment. Over long periods of time, the eroded cavities become conduits for water and openings to caves.

The Lincoln National Forest manages these caves to conserve watersheds, and unique life in the caves, as well as provide recreational opportunities. Jason Walz is the Lincoln’s Cave Specialist and manages the cave permit system. This permit system provides recreational opportunities while conserving the natural cave ecosystem. A permit is needed before entering any cave on forest system lands.

One of the issues facing the forest and the country is a bat disease called White Nose Syndrome (WNS). Bats that contract WNS live and hibernate in caves. This disease has spread across the U.S. from the east coast, killing millions of bats, but has not reached New Mexico yet.

The disease is expected to spread because it is caused by a fungus which can easily be passed between bats roosting in caves. The fungus can also be spread on shoes or clothes.

Nationally, the USDA Forest Service is trying to prevent the spread of this devastating disease by closing infected caves and requiring ‘cavers’ to disinfect their clothing before and after every trip.

Regionally the USDA Forest Service has temporarily closed all caves with bat populations to comply with national prevention plans. Locally, the Lincoln National Forest is keeping some caves open to recreation with compliance of the simple disinfection procedures.

If you would like to learn more about caves or obtaining a permit to visit caves please contact Jason Walz, at 575-885-4181.

Another place to learn about caves is in the community of Cloudcroft. Ed Woten, owner of Imaginary Books, has started the Cloudcroft Cave Club. Ed is a member of the National Speleological Society and is excited to tell people about caves. Stop by his store and find out about their monthly meetings and the next planned adventure.

Write a letter to the Ranger

If you’ve ever wondered about timber harvests, endangered species, off-road vehicle use, or other natural resource management topics, this is your opportunity to get your answer.

Individuals aspiring to acquire knowledge about the US Forest Service are encouraged to escape the fast pace world of technology and write a good old fashion letter to the Ranger.

If you would like to write a letter to James Duran, Sacramento District Ranger please mail it to: P.O. Box 288, Cloudcroft, NM 88317.

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