The Sacramento District Review – January 2013

In this Month’s Issue:
What Kind of Tree Is That?
Fuel Wood Permits
Kids Corner
The Ranger’s Report

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


What Kind of Tree Is That?

-Kathy Wallace

Douglas-fir cones

Recognizing a tree species can be challenging, but with a basic knowledge of what to look for, many trees in the Cloudcroft area can be quickly identified.

A tree is defined by the Society of American Foresters as “a woody perennial, typically large and with a well-defined stem or stems, carrying a more or less definite crown.” (Helms, ed. 1998).

The majority of trees on the Sacramento Ranger District are conifers (a cone bearing tree).  The leaves, fruits, bark and buds are important identification features.

Let’s take a closer look at the ponderosa pine, southwestern white pine, Douglas-fir, white fir and Engelmann spruce.  All of these trees are members of the pine (Pinaceae) family.

Conifer leaves, commonly referred to as needles, are often arranged in groups, called fasicles, which are encased at the base by a sheath (Brockman).  The needles can also be clustered, sessile   (permanently attached, not free to move about) on a woody “peg” or twig, or on a petiole (a slender stem that supports the blade of a foliage leaf).

Ponderosa pine needles come in fasicles of 3, or 2’s and 3’s, on the same tree.  The needles are 5 to 10 inches long. On young trees, the foliage is dark green, but older and slower growing trees have yellow-green needles.  The bark on the young, vigorous ponderosa pines is dark brown to black, but on mature trees it is cinnamon colored and plated. The cones are oval, 3 to 6 inches long with a stiff prickle at the end of the scales.

Southwestern white pines have needles which are blue-green, 2 to 3 inches long, in fasicles of five.

The cone is woody, yellow-brown, 5 to 9 inches long with woody scales that tend to bend backwards.  The bark is gray-brown and on younger trees is smooth, but becomes furrowed with scaly, rounded ridges in more mature trees.

Douglas-fir needles are green, 1 to 1½ inches long, stick out in all directions from the branches and are flat, linear and have blunt to pointed tips.

In this area, the Douglas-fir needles are often blue-green in color.  The cones are 3 to 4 inches long and have bracts with 3 points extending beyond the ends of the scales and are often referred to as “rat tails.”  The buds are very prominent, pointed and are shiny brown.

Engelmann spruce foliage

White fir is a true fir with blue-green needles that are 2 to 3 inches long, with flat and blunt to pointed tips. The needles have stomata on both surfaces.  Stomata are pores in plant leaves that control the gas exchange (CO2 and O2) and transpiration of a plant. On white fir, they appear as white lines on the surfaces of the needles.  The cones are 3 to 5 inches long and are olive green to purple in color.  The cones grow upright and disintegrate at maturity.

Engelmann spruce needles are about 1 inch long, are four-sided in cross section, blue-green in color, prickly and tend to point towards the tip of the twig.  Cones are 1 to

2½ inches long and the scales are thin and papery and wedge-shaped.  The bark is broken into large purplish brown to russet-red thin, loosely attached scales.  One way to think of it is “potato chip bark”.

A tree key or tree identification guide can be good resources to assist in the identification process. Most have photos, diagrams and a step-by-step process to narrow the choices.  You will be identifying trees before you know it!

My Happy New Year wish for you
Is for your best year yet,
A year where life is peaceful,
And what you want, you get.

A year in which you cherish
The past year’s memories,
And live your life each new day,
Full of bright expectancies.

I wish for you a holiday
With happiness galore;
And when it’s done, I wish you
Happy New Year, and many more.

By Joanna Fuchs


Fuel Wood Permits

Fuel wood permits are still available at the Sacramento District Office.  Fuel wood permits issued in Nov. & Dec. expired at the end of 2012.  There are three fuel wood cutting areas open, Wyatt, located on FR5661, Harris, located on FR64 and Wetburnt, North of the jctn. of Walker Cyn. Rd. & Carr Gap Rd.  As a reminder, rain and/or snow can cause these areas to close.  Please call our office for the latest updates and closure information at 575-682-2551.

Office Hours

The Sacramento Ranger District Office is located in the Village of Cloudcroft at 4 Lost Lodge Road, one mile south of Highway 82 on Hwy. 130.  We are open Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  We are closed Saturdays, Sundays and Federal Holidays.


Kids Corner

By J. Fink

Let’s Laugh

Q. How do snowmen greet each other?
A. Ice to meet you!

Q. Where does a snowman keep his money?
A. In a snow bank.

Q. What do snowmen eat for breakfast?
A. Frosted Flakes.

Q. What do snowmen wear on their heads?
A. Ice caps.

Q. What do you call a snowman on roller blades? 
A. A snowmobile.

Q. How does a snowman get to work? 
A. By icicle.

Marshmallow Snowman Pops

Marshmallow Snowman Pops

-1 bag of large marshmallows
-assorted small candy of your choice (tic-tacs work well)
-pretzels or chow mein noodles
-lollipop sticks
-frosting (optional-to help candy stick)

1. Push 3 marshmallows onto a lollipop stick to resemble a snowman.
2. Stick 2 pretzels or noodles in the sides of the middle marshmallow to make arms.
3. Decorate with candy as desired.  A small dab of frosting may be needed for the candy to stick.

*parental supervision recommended


I made a little snowman;

He had a cheery smile.

I dressed him in a hat and scarf,

then went inside a while.

A storm came up,

the wind was fierce;

My snowman was so Chilly!

He said he’d love to come inside,

but wouldn’t that be SILLY?

I told him he was made of snow,

and though he felt befuddled,

If I agreed and brought him in,

he’d turn into a PUDDLE!

 -Connie Faust



The Ranger’s Report

-James Duran

District Ranger, James Duran

So what is new in 2013? There is always something exciting going on at the Sacramento Ranger District, so I thought I’d share what we have in store for the New Year.

As I write this article on a warm December day, I am hopeful that we will receive some form of precipitation this winter season. The extended drought and the continued stress that it has on the natural environment is definitely something that calls for our constant attention.

Much of the district’s focus in early 2013 will be preparing for management of drought conditions through early spring.

The Lincoln National Forest is returning firefighters to duty earlier than normal in preparation for the potentially early fire season. They will be going through critical training and working with various partners in preparation of the unknown spring conditions that Mother Nature has in store.

We continue to implement valuable vegetative treatments in and around the Highway 82 corridor. The District is also very excited about work that will be completed along Karr Canyon Road in order to construct a fuel break.

The Lincoln National Forest recently signed an agreement with Otero County that allows for Otero County to provide services in the form of labor crews to complete thinning projects on the Sacramento Ranger District to approved Forest Service prescriptions. Most of the fuel reduction activities are on National Forest lands near the communities of High Rolls and Weed.  You will see logging trucks driving to and from the Jim Lewis project area, which is a large restoration effort involving commercial timber removal, thinning and prescribed fire.  Jim Lewis is a project that will be implemented over several years in the southeast corner of the Sacramento Ranger District.

The District is also focusing on the reissuance of several permits that allow for the continuance of grazing management strategies as well as special uses activities, including utility and municipal infrastructure operations and maintenance on National Forest System lands.

We have a lot going on. I hope to find time to visit and share more soon. Happy New Year!

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-paced world of technology and write a good old-fashioned 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.