SFNF Waives Fees for National Public Lands Day; Volunteers Needed for Trail Improvement Projects

By Julie Anne Overton


The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) invites you to celebrate National Public Lands Day on the SFNF on Saturday, Sept. 30, by volunteering to work on popular multi-use trails that need a little TLC.  Or, take advantage of the third fee-free day of the year to visit your favorite sites on the forest for free.

National Public Lands Day is the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands.  Last year, over 200,000 volunteers at 2,600 locations accomplished $18 million in public land improvements.  This year, the SFNF is offering two great opportunities to get outside with friends and family while practicing environmental stewardship:

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New Mexico Culture Squared (NMC2) Presents Los Luceros FREE Harvest Festival

By Mary Ann Hatchitt 

Photo: NM Department of Cultural Affairs. 

Historic Los Luceros.

New Mexico Culture Squared (NMC2), a program of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, will present a Harvest Festival and a free outdoor concert at the Los Luceros Historic Site in Alcalde on Sunday, September 17, 2017 from 9:00AM to 3:00PM.

This FREE event includes a farmers’ market, apple harvest activities, cider-making, tours of the sites, serenaded tours of the orchard, many other family-friendly activities on the stunning Los Luceros Historic Property.  Musical entertainment will be provided Lone Piñon, an acoustic trio from New Mexico whose music celebrates their region’s cultural diversity. www.lonepinon.com/

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True Breed of Sheep Created in NM

By Craig Massey


Photo: New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum.

Two Debouillet ewes from the Jones Ranch near Tatum, N.M., are part of the livestock collection at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum.


There aren’t many things in our state that are more New Mexico True than Debouillet sheep.

The breed originated in southeastern New Mexico, and the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces has a new display that chronicles the development of this type of sheep. The Museum also has two Debouillet ewes among its livestock collection.

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We Have it All

By Jennifer Olson


Well, let’s see….. We have basil, beets, bell peppers, blue cornmeal, broccoli, cabbage, cantelope, catnip, chard, chile, cilantro, corn, cucumbers, dill, eggplant, eggs, green beans, honey, jalapenos, lettuce, onions, peaches, pears, peas, parsley, pimentos, potatoes, radishes, raspberries, scallion, spinach, squash, sweet peppers, tarragon, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon, yellow hots and possibly pecans. It’s beautiful and yummy. What more could you want?

Maybe you’re looking for artwork, bags, balms, cards, cinnamon rolls, coffee, diotomateous earth, dried blueberries, dried gogi, grasshopper bait, jams, jewelry and/or yogurt. Is that what you’re looking for? We got it. Or do you need your knives and/or scissors sharpened or possibly your sewing machine repaired?

Well, come on down!! And while you’re there, be sure to stock up on smiles, hugs, friendship and good vibes. As I said, we have it ALL. See you there.

Why So Blue

By R.W.

The Sandias as seen from U.S. 550 during the last few days.

There is a fairly contained, small, piñon/juniper wildfire burning nearby, on Borrego Mesa, and a prospect of several prescribed burns later this month on the Española Ranger District, just announced by the Santa Fe National Forest. None of that is, or will be, responsible for the smoke blurring our horizons and creeping into our bedrooms now, and likely to continue doing so through the rest of this Summer and into Fall.

This smoke blowing our way, and across the lower 48, is from the wildfires burning through the Northwest and Midwest, including vast conflagrations in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho,  Montana, Utah and British Columbia.

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Udall, Heinrich and Luján Urge Secretary Zinke to Defer All Leases on Land Near Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Photo R.W.

Pueblo Bonito interior at the Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján urged Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to uphold the agreement to defer all leases on land near Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The area is currently undergoing review by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to plan the best way to appropriately manage and protect this unique archaeological site and the surrounding land. The BLM previously agreed to defer all leases within a 10-mile radius of Chaco Canyon until all Tribal consultation and community outreach has been completed and a Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA) for the San Juan Basin has been finalized. However, the BLM recently began the process of leasing areas within the 10-mile radius.

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Just a Tinge

Is that a just a first touch of Golden Autumn creeping in?

The Jemez Bosque just north of Cañon:



Lightning Caused Fire Burning on Borrego Mesa

By Julie Anne Overton , Acting Public Affairs Officer


Start Date: Sept. 4, 2017

Cause: Lightning

Size:  Approximately 12 acres

Location:  Borrego Mesa on the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest, approximately 3 miles southeast of Ponderosa and approximately 1 mile north of the northern boundary of Zia Pueblo tribal lands.

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Changing Odds in the New Normal

By R.W.

You would think that 500 year floods should not happen much more often than every 500 years, give or take a few decades, perhaps. Once you start getting 500 year floods every year, it might be time to rename them “only-to-be-expected-every-year-floods”.

By its definition a “500 year flood” is not a flood that might happen every 500 years, but is a flood that has a 1 in 500 chance of occurring in any given year. Still, what with Houston having just experienced a 500 year flood 2015, 2016 and now this year, it might make sense to reconfigure some of those odds, since (I am told) that the chances of a 1-in-500 event occurring three straight times are one in 125 million.

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Eclipses and Phantoms

By Sandra West



On Friday, September 9, at 7 PM in the Los Alamos Nature Center planetarium, three local astronomers, who watched the eclipse from within the path of totality, will share stories, photos, data, and videos from the August 21st total solar eclipse.

The full-dome film Phantom of the Universe will play in the planetarium at 2 PM on Saturday and Sunday, September 9 and 10.

Phantom of the Universe, a film that uncovers the heavenly mystery of dark matter, can be seen at 2 PM on September 9 and 10 in the nature center planetarium. The film traces existence back to its beginning, stretching through space and time to reveal its unique connection to the Large Hadron Collider.

For more information about these and future planetarium shows, please visit www.peecnature.org/planetarium. To reserve tickets, call (505) 662-0460.


Attorney General Balderas Statement on President Trump’s Decision to End DACA

Hector Balderas, New Mexico Attorney General


Hector Balderas.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas released the following statement in response to President Trump’s decision to end DACA:

“With the decision to end DACA, President Trump is compromising the safety of our communities and our nation, and he is putting the security of thousands of New Mexicans who contribute to our classrooms, public safety and economy at risk. Losing hundreds of thousands of future police officers, members of the military, doctors and teachers will create an unacceptable public safety threat in the United States. My office will continue to use all means necessary to push back against harmful rollbacks that target Dreamers.”


State Employees Raise more than $13,500 for Disaster Relief

 Susana Martinez, Governor



Partnership also Highlights how New Mexicans can Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

Governor Susana Martinez and Red Cross New Mexico announced that state employees raised more than $13,500 in this year’s Dollars for Disaster campaign. The sixth annual partnership between Red Cross New Mexico and New Mexico state employees raises money to provide relief to victims and help to emergency responders throughout the state.

“From fires, floods and other emergencies, New Mexicans know more than most how important it is to be prepared – and how to come together to help those in need,” Governor Martinez said. “I’m proud that our state employees are leading by example to help fellow New Mexicans. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with the Red Cross and other partners across the state to help those in need.”

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Big Chief Lives

Photos R.W.

A vivid landmark on the the road to and from town, the Big Chief has lingered for the last few years, seemingly abandoned. This is how the stop on U.S. Highway 550 looked back in 2008 (note the gas price):


And here it is now, with new life being breathed into it (BTW, look how smoky the landscape seems, with the Sandias barely visible, and how healthy the weeds have become):

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Mr. Robot Hits Town


New Mexico Film Office Director Nick Maniatis announced today that USA Network’s television series “Mr. Robot” produced by Universal Cable Productions in association with Anonymous Content, will partially shoot in Albuquerque at the end of August through the beginning of September.Continue reading

Continental Divide Trail Remains Closed

By Julie Anne Overton


The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) has extended the closure of a segment of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) on the Coyote Ranger District to provide for public safety as fire crews continue to work on the Ojitos Fire in the Chama River Wilderness.  The temporary closure is in effect until Dec. 31, 2017, unless it is rescinded earlier.

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Tax Reform = Tax Breaks for the Super Rich

By  Sharon Kayne, Communications Director





Average New Mexicans would not benefit much from President Trump’s tax reform proposal, which would give the biggest tax breaks to New Mexico’s millionaires. That’s according to a report released recently by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

“We should be very clear: what the President and Republican leaders in Congress are proposing is not tax reform,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which works with ITEP on fiscal policies. “Trump, Ryan, and McConnell are pushing massive tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations. These tax cuts will be paid for by cuts to Social Security, health care, education, and other programs that benefit working families and the whole nation.” 

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Labor Day Weekend at Bandelier – Cultural Demonstrators and More 

By Chris Judson


Photo NPS  

The Fragua family of Jemez Pueblo will be demonstrating their work at Bandelier National Monument over the Labor Day weekend.


It’s hard to believe, but it’s already Labor Day weekend! Bandelier National Monument will have not one, but three, cultural demonstrators on the three days of the holiday weekend. All of them have been coming to Bandelier for many years to demonstrate their work, so while some visitors may have not met them before, others may enjoy the chance to see them again.

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The Mighty Bighorn

By Daryl Ratajczak

Wildlife Biologist, Forest Planning Team


Fragment of photo by Jwanamaker – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28291925

Bighorn Sheep.

I stood motionless, afraid to even blink let alone breathe. His bulbous eye focused on the offcolored rock sitting before him. His 220-pound frame was sleek and well-defined but nothing compared to what it would be in a few months when he bulked up to begin defending his right to breed. The Rocky Mountain bighorn ram standing before me was already a fine specimen, he was soon going to be a fierce competitor as well. Imagining the thunderous clap resounding from his mighty horns as he beat down his rivals, I had little doubt he would maintain his bloodline this coming breeding season.

So went my first encounter with New Mexico’s largest wild sheep. You can imagine my surprise as I learned about this majestic animal and its struggle to maintain a foothold in the rocky and wild places it calls home. As an invited member to a bighorn sheep management meeting, my first priority was to gather as much information about the animal as possible. As a wildlife biologist, I have managed numerous species of big game animals, but this was going to be my first foray with bighorns, therefore, I was quite content letting the experts lead the discussion.

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The Farmers Market Continues

By Jennifer Olson


The harvest is in full swing, and the market is happening in all its glory, this Saturday, at the gazebo, as usual. from 9 a.m. till 11a.m. or so. Come, partake of the bounty.

Get your greens, veggies and fruit freshly picked, just for you.

Because of the Bigfoot, Blues and Barbeque Festival event from 11 to 5, the park itself will be closed to automobile traffic. So, please park in the designated area above and come down to get your produce, say hi to your friends and share your smiles.

See you there.

News from Deep in the Woods


The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) expects a large number of visitors for the final holiday weekend of the summer season, but please bear in mind that the (SFNF) Supervisor’s Office and all Ranger District offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, in observance of Labor Day.  Normal business hours will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

This, and other Forest news:

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Ten Important Spanish Battles of the 16th Century

By Matthew J. Barbour, Regional Manager


Sack of Antwerp.

Most living in the United States and in Latin America recognize the military accomplishments of the Spanish conquistadors.  Whether good or bad, these men triumphed over some amazing odds. However, these successes were part of a larger “golden age” in the 1500s during which the Spanish military triumphed over nearly every foe they encountered. Many of these events are overlooked today, but at the time had major political and cultural ramifications. Here are ten important Spanish battles of the sixteenth century.

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Craft Beer, Zozobra and No Service on Labor Day


New Mexico Rail Runner Express has a series of announcements of interest for this Labor Day weekend. Please note that on Labor day (Sept. 4) there will be no train service.

This information is in the links below:

93rd Annual Burning of Zozobra

Zozobra and Rail Runner combo ticket

View the Zozobra Train Schedule

Mountain West Brew Fest,

View the Brew Fest Train Schedule

View the Holiday Schedule

New Mexico Religious Imagery

Photos R.W.

New Mexico religious images are often unique, ranging from derivations of regional folk art, both sophisticated and primitive, through fairly conventional, as in first image below, to complex installations which combine many forms. Here are few that I caught on camera on trips far and near in the state:

Starting close to home (the rest are unlabelled).

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