The Sacramento District Review – June 2012

In this Month’s Issue:
Pines Stewardship Project
Trees of the Sacramento Mountains
Summer Office Hours
Evening Lecture Series

The Sacramento District Review is a monthly newsletter prepared by the Sacramento Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest.


Pines Stewardship Project

-Jessie Nichols

Masticator at work in the Pines Stewardship Project

The Pines Stewardship Project is a logging operation just north of the village of Cloudcroft, south of Pines Campground, east of Osha Trail, and west of the Hwy 82/Hwy 244 junction. The project will treat up to 156 acres of land through harvesting timber and thinning fuels.

The project was identified as high priority by the Otero County Working Group (OWG) due to the high density of hazard trees and its proximity to the Village of Cloudcroft. Specifically, the project will remove all trees that died as a result of the New Mexico Fir Looper activity between 2005 and 2007, and remove trees that were blown down during the 2009 wind event. All remaining live trees will be thinned to a specific Silvicultural prescription.

Other work to be completed during the project includes rolling up and removing fences that are no longer in use, and removing and/or masticating (grinding) all slash and dead material not needed to maintain habitat conditions for wildlife and watershed protection.

Columbine blooming in masticated wood.

Throughout the project there will be special emphasis and care taken for the recreational assets in the area, protection of historical sites, and the creation of openings for wildlife use and viewing.

The time frame to implement this type of project is highly dependent on many factors. Most of the New Mexico Fir Looper activity subsided by 2007, but approximately 14,000 acres throughout the Sacramento Mountains were affected.
By 2008, mortality of trees afflicted by the looper was confirmed and an environmental assessment was conducted by the Lincoln National Forest, with consultation from US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the State Historic Preservation Office.

Once the environmental assessment was complete, the district was able to advertise salvage sales for the materials impacted by the looper.

Wildlife and archeology specialists ensured mitigation measures were in affect so no critical wildlife areas or heritage sites would be harmed.

Aspen stand and meadow in Pines Stewardship Project

Some areas of the project were found to be in critical Checkerspot Butterfly habitat. Operations take place in this habitat during the fall and winter in order to protect plants the Checkerspot depends on.

The project was awarded in September 2011 to Turkey Creek, an Alamogordo based Timber Company. Operations began in November 2011 and should be completed by late 2013.

The Silvicultural prescription for this project includes thinning trees that are 1–9 inches in diameter at a spacing of 15ft with the healthiest most vigorous trees maintained.

Trees marked with orange paint are standing dead snags designated to remain standing for wildlife needs. The blue marked trees are to be cut and removed. Other trees less than 9” in diameter may be cut as designated in the contract.

Pines Stewardship Project Area

Other specifications are to remove, masticate, or chip all slash and woody debris, and to take down all fences and posts. Special care will be taken around the existing trail systems, if heavy equipment needs to cross a trail it will be repaired as soon as operations in that buy nexium 20mg area are complete.

To date, 44 of the 156 acres have been treated, and 5,000 ft. of fence has been removed. Much of the completed work is visible near the slash pit along Hwy 244, north of the Village of Cloudcroft.

Visitors should use caution when hiking or biking on the trails in the project area. Please be aware there can be equipment and personnel working at varying hours of the day.


Trees of the Sacramento Mountains

-Reese Bowen

One of the biggest attractions for residents and visitors to the Sacramento Ranger District is the trees. Trees are the largest living organisms on earth. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they provide habitat and food for wildlife, sustainable forest products, erosion protection, shade, and oxygen.

In the Sacramentos we commonly find seven conifer species: Ponderosa pine; Engelmann spruce; southwestern white pine; Douglas-fir; white fir; Rocky Mountain juniper; and piñyon pine; as well as three hardwood species; Quaking aspen, Gambel oak, and Rocky Mountain maple.

Conifers are classified as gymnosperms, which means their seeds are produced on the surface, such as a pine cone. Hardwoods are classified as angiosperms, which means their seeds are produced inside a fruit, such as an acorn.
Aspen trees primarily reproduce through root sprouts, resulting in extensive colonies where all trees are clones with identical characteristics. Aspen do produce tiny seeds in the spring, which you may have noticed falling off the trees in late April, but they seldom reproduce from these seeds.

A typical tree’s growth is characterized by foliage growth in the spring, trunk growth in the summer, and root growth in the fall and winter.

Aspens in their full spring glory

In the spring, trees come back to “life” after a winter of dormancy. As the temperature warms up, pressure increases inside the tree and sap begins to flow. This causes the tree to become vulnerable to damage if scraped.

In conifers, new needles flush out, causing old needles to cast off. This is very noticeable on Ponderosa pines. Spruce and fir trees will get a bright green tip on the branches which is their soft, new growth. These needles will harden as the season progresses.

The aspen, oak, and maple in the Sacramento Mountains are flush with their bright green leaves, so get out and enjoy the fresh spring foliage!

Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.

~Author Unknown

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.

~Wallace Stevens


Summer Office Hours

The Sacramento District Office will be open on Saturdays from Memorial Day Weekend (May 26th) through Labor Day Weekend (September 1st). Saturday hours will be from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm.
Visitors and residents may purchase forest maps, topographic maps, along with fuelwood, mineral, and wilding permits. If you would like more information please contact us at 575-682-2551.


Evening Lecture Series

Our Evening Lecture Series continued with a great crowd on May10th for a presentation on the wildlife of the Sacramento Mountains.
The June Lecture Series topic is “NM Off Highway Vehicle Regulations.” To gain a better understanding of New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Regulations please join us at the Sacramento Ranger District from 6 –7 p.m. at the district office, #4 Lost Lodge Road in Cloudcroft on June 14th.

Upcoming Lecture Series dates:
July 12—Animal Plant and Health Service.”
For additional information please call 575-682-2551.


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