The Sacramento District Review – November 2012

In this Month’s Issue:
EA Touch of Gold on the Lincoln
Christmas Tree Sales
Evening Lecture Series
Kids Corner
The Sacramento District Review is a monthly newsletter prepared by the Sacramento Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest.


A Touch of Gold on the Lincoln

-Mark Cadwallader

Aspen Ecology

An Aspen stand in full fall color

Around the middle of October, aspen trees provide a beautiful array of color to the high elevations of the Sacramento Mountains. The colors vary from pale yellow, to gold, and even a little touch of red.  The fall colors provided by these wonderful trees have drawn many people to view the mountain slopes in and around Cloudcroft, so let’s take this opportunity to learn more about this highly visible deciduous tree, native to our beautiful Sacramento mountains.

  Aspen tend to grow in a wide range of environmental conditions, from moist stream-sides, to dry ridges, on talus slopes, in shallow to deep soils of various origins, and is tolerant of wide variations in climate. It is found in all mountain vegetational zones, from the basal plains of the mountains to the alpine. As a result, aspen communities are found associated with a diverse range of vegetation, from semi-arid shrublands to wet, spruce-fir forests.


Role of Fire

Fire is a natural feature in many of the aspen ecosystems of western North America. It is responsible for the abundance of aspen in the West and for the even-aged structure of most stands. In some areas, aspen stands are the same age, dating from a single great fire or a year of widespread fires. Fire appears to be necessary for the continued well-being of aspen on most sites. Many aspen stands are replaced by grass, forbs, shrubs, or conifers in the absence of fire.

Aspen is considered a fire-induced successional species that will dominate a site until it is replaced by less fire-enduring and more shade-tolerant species, such as conifers; provided a coniferous seed source is present. Fire reduces the overstory, stimulates shoots to sprout, and kills invading conifers growing in the aspen clone. Since aspen can sprout from existing roots and these suckers grow faster than the new slow growing conifers, aspen can dominate in a grove for many years after a fire.

In general, aspen stands do not readily burn. Aspen trees have moist green leaves and thick twigs that do not burn easily, unlike conifers, which have dry needles and twigs. Crown fires running through coniferous forests tend to drop to the ground when they come to an aspen stand and may even extinguish after burning into the aspen only a few yards.  Fires sometimes bypass stands of aspen enclosed within coniferous forests.

After a wildfire event, Aspen will be one of the first tree species to colonize the burned areas.

Although aspen forests do not burn readily, aspen trees are extremely sensitive to fire. A fire intense enough to kill the aspen overstory will stimulate abundant suckering.

As many as 50,000 to 100,000 suckers can sprout and grow on a single acre after a fire. Over time, the aspen suckers in a grove that emerge following a fire will slowly thin themselves. After 20 or 30 years, the aspen grove will have just about as many aspen trees as it did before the fire. As the aspen grove returns to the burned area, so do the plants and animals that depend upon them for their habitat.

If fire occurs at infrequent intervals (e.g., 50 years) and is moderately intense enough to kill most or all of the aspen and competing conifers, most aspen sites in the West will retain viable stands of aspen. More frequent fires may adversely affect site quality for aspen. Complete fire protection, however, will permit coniferous species to take over the majority of sites.

Information from:



Christmas Tree Sales

Lincoln National Forest will be selling Christmas Tree Permits for five dollars each between November 1st and December 21st at District Office’s and at the Supervisor’s Office in Alamogordo. The permits will be available for purchase ONLY at Forest Service offices or through a mail-in application which can be printed on-line at: or picked up at various retailers in New Mexico and Texas.

Mail-in applications must be received by December 14th.

The Sacramento Ranger District Office will be open on Saturdays 9:00am-2:30pm November 17th thru December 15th for Christmas tree permit sales.


Evening Lecture Series

Our Evening Lecture Series had an excellent turnout on October 11th for the lecture on taking great wildlife photos.

The November Lecture Series topic is “Prehistoric Grinding Technology and Methods”

Learn why ground stone tools are important to archaeology and what can be learned from studying them. Guests will have the opportunity to try different grinding methods (dry corn vs. wet corn).

Please join us at the Sacramento Ranger District from 6:00-7:00 p.m. at the district office, #4 Lost Lodge Road in Cloudcroft on November 8th.

*The November lecture will be our last lecture for the year.  We will resume the series in March 2013. Thank you to all who attended and helped make the lecture series a great success!

For additional information please call 575-682-2551.

Kids Corner

Craft Project:

Pinecone Turkey


-Pinecone, glue, scissors, markers or crayons

-Brown, red, yellow & orange card stock or construction paper

-Wiggly eyes (optional)


  1. Cut out 6-9 feather shaped pieces from the red, yellow & orange paper.
  2. Glue & insert the pieces between the scales on the larger end of the pinecone to resemble feathers.
  3. Cut out a peanut shaped piece from the brown paper to resemble the head, cut a beak from the yellow paper and if desired cut out a small piece from the red paper for a wattle.
  4. Glue or draw on the eyes and glue on the beak and wattle.
  5. Glue the head to the smaller end of the pinecone.  Allow to dry.



In the Forest

  • Preventing Wildfires
  • Campfire Rules
  • Story Maker
  • Forest Links

Campfire Games

  • Smoke Jumper
  • River Rage
  • Trail Blaze
  • Amazing Mazes
  • Color It
  • Ask Smokey

Smokey Mail

  • Smokey Club

Bear Facts

  • Smokey Profile
  • Smokey History
  • Random Bear Facts