Club supports Buckman Restoration Project

Letter sent to the Santa Fe National Forest on December 12

Sandy Hurlocker
Santa Fe National Forest, Espanola Ranger District
P.O. Box 3307
Fairview, NM 87533

Dear Mr. Hurlocker

I am writing this on behalf of the close to 3000 members in the Northern New Mexico Group of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, the oldest environmental organization in this country, founded by John Muir in 1892. We want to express our strong support for the proposed Rio Grande Corridor at Buckman Restoration and Recreation Enhancement Project.

Two of the trails in our local hiking guidebook: Day Hikes in the Santa Fe Area, 6th edition, 2007, namely Diablo Canyon and Buckman Mesa, take hikers to the area where this Project would take place. We are well aware of the current trashed out parking areas, littered ground, and vandalism of vehicles. Yet it is an ideal area in which to view the Rio Grande close at end, marvel at the fluted basalt cliffs in Diablo Canyon, and be able to enjoy a nearby outing in the chill of the winter months.

We are impressed with the broad scope of this plan, and the careful planning that has gone into it, taking into account not only important environmental considerations, but historical vestiges such as the Chile Line route and Buckman townsite. We are pleased to note that significant attention is paid to the urgent need in our drought prevalent climate to ensure the health of this precious riparian area by removing the snarl of invasive species like tamarisk & Russian olive, and revegetating with appropriate native plants, while providing critical wildlife habitat to birds and critters. We appreciate the careful delineation of herbicide use in the removal of the invasive trees, and consideration of the water needs for the newly planted species.

The fact that this has been a collaborative process among the local community, state agencies, the BLM, the Forest Service and non profit organizations is a very positive sign, and should ensure both increased visitation and enjoyment by the public and more consistent oversight and management by the concerned agencies. The proposed interpretive signs & kiosks, carefully outlined parking areas, shade shelters, pit toilets and closure of all the illegal spur roads should convey the strong message that this is a special place where hikers, picnic gatherers, photographers, rock climbers, rafters and all outdoors enthusiasts are welcomed to enjoy the great vistas and unique landscape, and that unauthorized activities will not be tolerated. This project should also encourage educational opportunities for school classes and youth groups to both help with the on the ground restoration activities and learn about the importance of riparian ecosystems, while enabling them to better appreciate our wonderful outdoors.

Let us know if we can be of help as this project unfolds. We totally support your goals and the means to realize them.

Sincerely,

Norma McCallan
Vice Chair and Acting Conservation Chair, Northern New Mexico Group Sierra Club
1807 2nd Street, Suite 45
Santa Fe, NM, 87505

The attachment provides a complete description of the project.

Diablo Canyon
AttachmentSize
Buckman Restoration Project.pdf2.18 MB