Comments sought for plan to begin an overnight cabin rental program for the Dark Canyon Lookout Cabin and Tower on the Guadalupe Ranger District

ALAMOGORDO, NM – March 31, 2016 – The Lincoln National Forest is seeking public comment on a plan to begin an overnight rental program for the Dark Canyon Lookout Tower and Cabin located on the Guadalupe Ranger District.

The cabin rental program is a popular program on many Forests across the country.  The rental program provides new and unique recreational opportunities (staying in historic Forest Service cabins and lookouts) while providing revenue for the ongoing maintenance and renovation of these historic buildings.  While the cabin rental program is popular in many parts of the country currently no State or Federal agencies offer over-night public rentals in the state of NM so this is new for the Forest and State.

With advancements in technology and fire management practices the Dark Canyon complex has been under-utilized and neglected for many years.  The Forest is updating and renovating the site and completion is expected soon.  Upon completion the site would provide a rustic, remote, unique recreational experience with accommodation’s for four in the two bunkbeds that are provided. 

The $65 proposed per night fee will include day and overnight use of the cabin, lookout and outhouse (vault toilet).  The cabin has a woodstove and electricity but no water.  High clearance, 4x-wheel drive vehicles are strongly recommended for access.

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004 (REA), requires that all proposals to charge a new fee at recreation sites must meet certain criteria before fees can be initiated.  The proposal to make the Dark Canyon site available as a rental meets the criteria for charging reasonable recreation use fees.  Proposals for new fee sites are reviewed by a Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RRAC) after the Forest has completed their public involvement. The RRAC is composed of citizens who have recreation interests on public lands.  The existing Bureau of Land Management’s New Mexico Resource Advisory Council (BLM RAC) has been authorized to perform this function for new fee sites in New Mexico.  The proposed fee for the Dark Canyon Complex will be reviewed at the next regular meeting of the BLM RAC in the spring of 2016.  Additional information about this meeting can be obtained by calling the BLM state office at 505-954-2000 or by viewing

If the proposal is approved, the public will be able to make reservations beginning fall/winter 2016 by contacting the Forest Service National Recreation Reservation Service, ReserveAmerica, 1-877-444-6777 or

In addition to the $65 daily rental fee, a $9 service fee will be charged for each internet reservation and a $10 fee for each phone reservation. The reservation service also has information about renting and reserving other Forest Service facilities, including those offered under the Arizona “Rooms with a View” Cabin Rental program, which is a similar program in our neighboring state.

The Forest Service welcomes your questions, comments, concerns or support for their proposal to make the Dark Canyon Complex available for overnight rentals.  Input can be directed to Brad Bolton by phone at 575-885-4181, or by email at