Opportunity to Comment on Smokey Bear District’s Proposed Benado Gap Meadow Restoration Project

RUIDOSO, NM, August 29, 2018 – The Lincoln National Forest, Smokey Bear Ranger District is proposing to reclaim a user-created road and restore the meadow in Benado Gap. Benado Gap is an area that is not suited for frequent vehicular travel, and is not part of the USDA Forest Service road system. In the late 1990’s, a road down the middle of the Benado Gap meadow was removed from the public road system and reclaimed by placing earthen structures in the road to stop erosion and begin the process of revegetating the road. Since that time, an additional unauthorized two track road has been created immediately adjacent to the rehabilitated area. Proposed restoration efforts would focus on the exclusion of unauthorized vehicle traffic from the meadow to allow for the recovery of damaged soils and vegetation.

Proposed project activities include the installation of a four foot high metal pipe fence across the meadow entrance that would prevent entry by ATV’s and other vehicles. On both ends of the pipe fence, a barb wire fence will stretch for approximately 50 meters to discourage unauthorized travel of vehicles around the fence. The fence will be designed with width-limiter gates to allow wildlife, livestock, horseback travel, and foot traffic to pass freely through openings in the fence. A locked gate will be placed in the fence to allow the livestock grazing permittee occasional vehicular access to maintain a water well at the bottom of the meadow. Heavy equipment will be used to drill holes for placement of the fence uprights. All uprights will be cemented and welding will occur on site to attach the rails. After the fence is completed, interpretive signs would be added to the meadow entrance to educate area users about the need for the fence. Additional lengths of barb wire fence may be added in the future if needed to deter unauthorized motorized travel. A map of the proposed treatment area is shown in figure 1. The site is located approximately 10 miles east and 2 miles north of Carrizozo, NM. The site can be accessed by traveling north on county road A10 for approximately 8 miles from US Highway 380. The legal location is W1/2 Section 22 R13E T7S.

Additional information regarding these actions can be obtained from: Andrew Ellis, 901 Mechem Drive, Ruidoso, NM 88345; 575-257-4095; AndrewEllis@fs.fed.us; or on the Lincoln National Forest projects website - http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/lincoln/landmanagement/projects.


How to Submit Comments

Electronic comments including attachments may be submitted by email to comments-southwestern-lincoln-smokey-bear@fs.fed.us. Include the project title in the subject line. Written comments may also be addressed to: Jodie Canfield, District Ranger, c/o Andrew Ellis, 901 Mechem Drive, Ruidoso, NM 88345; or faxed to (575) 257-6174. Oral or hand-delivered comments must be received within our normal business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Smokey Bear Ranger District. The phone number is (575) 257-4095. Anyone submitting a comment is asked to provide their name and postal mailing address so that they can be added to the project mailing list. Comments submitted anonymously will be considered; however, anonymous comments will not provide the Agency with the ability to provide the respondent with subsequent environmental documents.

For more information about the Lincoln National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/lincoln follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LincolnUSForest                        



Figure 1. Map of the proposed treatment area https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/www/nepa/109912_FSPLT3_4406781.pdf