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Road Block: Planned Forest Road Closures Pose Unforeseen Hardships

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By Dave Menucucci

Standing on a mountain ridge, Bill Black, an elderly fisherman, pointed to a distant fishing stream and said, “The Forest Service has cut me off from those quality waters by closing a perfectly fine access road.”

The road in question is an eastern spur off of Forest Service 144 near the northwest corner of the Valles Caldera.  He said his bad knee will not allow him to walk a steep road leading to the stream.  

“I can get there in my truck, but not walking,” he said.

Things might get worse for Black and others who depend on vehicles to transport them to highly desirable fishing, hunting and recreational areas in the forest. Under the proposed Travel Management Plan, the Forest Service would close about 53 percent of all existing forest roads in the Santa Fe National Forest. One proposed closure is a steep road that Black uses to reach a cherished fishing area on the upper Rio Cebolla.

The access plans may indeed disproportionately affect certain groups.


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