Santa Fe National Forest and Valles Caldera National Preserve Closed

Release Date: Jun 21, 2013  

Contact(s): LAWRENCE M. LUJAN, U.S. Forest Service, (505) 438-5321, TERRY MCDERMOTT, Valles Caldera Trust, (505) 428-7714


The entire Santa Fe National Forest will be closed to public entry effective Monday, June 24, 2013 at 8 a.m. The only exception to the closure is the Rio Chama Scenic River corridor which will remain open to the public, with Stage II fire restrictions. The accessible area along the Rio Chama includes 100-feet from both sides of the river starting at the north end of the river at the Coyote and Cuba Ranger District Boundary downstream to the southeastern boundary near Forest Service Road 151.

“The weather forecast is calling for dry, hot and windy conditions in the coming days and with the current fires and new fires reported daily, we cannot afford to take the added risk of human-caused wildfires,” said Forest Supervisor Maria Garcia. Some areas have reported rainfall but it has been isolated and not enough to lessen the probability of wildfires spreading quickly. “These safety measures (restrictions and closures) are primarily meant to protect the public and also to protect the natural and cultural resources people enjoy and which sustain their way of life,” added Garcia, “The closure will be lifted once we receive significant rainfall to abate wildfire risk.”

As per Closure Order 10-387, the entire Santa Fe National Forest is closed to all access except for the Rio Chama Scenic River corridor; exceptions to this closure order include:

  1. Persons with a Forest Service letter or permit specifically authorizing the prohibited act or omission.
  2. Any Federal, State, or Local Officer, or member of an organized firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
  3. Residents in the area accessing private property via a restricted Forest Service road.

Valles Caldera National Preserve main entrance is open from 8 am to 6 pm. The public can drive to the Valle Grande Staging Area where they can visit the gift shop or view elk and other wildlife in the area; visit the website: http://www.vallescaldera.gov/.

Carson National Forest will remain in Stage I Restrictions and continue with the closure of Pecos Wilderness managed by the Carson National Forest and the trails which access the Pecos Wilderness. These include: the San Leonardo Trail #30, Trampas Trail #31, Santa Barbara Trail #24, Serpent Lake/Alamitos Trail #19 and Ripley Point Trail #36; visit the website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/carson.

Bandelier National Monument is open to visitors. Fire restrictions are in effect; visit the website: http://www.nps.gov/band/.

New Mexico Game and Fish recreation sites along the Pecos River, Bert Clancy, Tererro, Jamie Koch and Mora camping and fishing areas are also closed. Monastery Lake along the Pecos River, Highway 63 is also closed; visit the website: http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/recreation/fishing/documents/ fishing_report.htm.

New Mexico State Parks— Fenton Lake State Park near Jemez Springs, and Morphy Lake State Park near Mora are both closed. Hyde Memorial State Park will close at 8 a.m. on Monday, June 24th, however The Lodge at Hyde Memorial State Park will remain open for all scheduled activities and preexisting reservations. These parks will remain closed for the duration of the Santa Fe National Forest closure. Many NM State Parks remain open with fire restrictions; visit the website: http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/FireRestrictions.html.

People who have trips planned to the area should continue with their plans and visit some of the villages and communities that are rich in culture and friendly people. Local business owners in these communities are known for their great hospitality and keep their businesses open to serve visitors and to share their knowledge of the area and love for the land.

Forest Service Law Enforcement and other personnel will be patrolling forest roads and trails. We ask that people be extremely cautious outdoors at this time, be aware of your surroundings and report all illegal activity to proper law enforcement authorities. “Know Before You Go”—look for the latest information on restrictions and closures of public land by calling your local ranger station or park or via Fire Restrictions website Fire Restrictions: http://firerestrictions.us/nm/, Fire Restrictions Hotline: 1-877-864-6985 or call Santa Fe National Forest, 505-438-5300.

As always, fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are always prohibited on National Forests System lands.