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Environmental groups oppose SF Forest road plan

The majority of roads in the Santa Fe National Forest will now be closed to motorized travel, according to the Albuquerque Journal. But two environmental groups say the plan still leaves too much of the forest open to vehicle traffic.

The Record of Decision came after nearly six years of analysis and public comment. The Forest Service evaluated more than 7,000 miles of roads and trails and designated about 2,400 miles where motorized travel will be allowed. It also prohibited off-road motorized travel.

Santa Fe National Forest Supervisor Maria T. Garcia said the decision protects natural and cultural resources and still provides access and motorized recreational opportunities.

But WildEarth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity say the plan threatens water quality and wildlife, such as the Jemez Mountain salamander. The two groups say the Forest Service can only afford to maintain 10 percent of the roads in the plan.

Once the decision is published in the Albuquerque Journal, members of the public who commented on the Forest Service’s draft environmental impact statement will have 45 days to appeal the decision. For more information, go to KUNM.org.

To see the Record of Decision, go to the Santa Fe National Forest website.

Megan has been a journalist for 25 years and worked at business weeklies in San Antonio, New Orleans and Albuquerque. She first came to KUNM as a phone volunteer on the pledge drive in 2005. That led to volunteering on Women’s Focus, Weekend Edition and the Global Music Show. She was then hired as Morning Edition host in 2015, then the All Things Considered host in 2018. Megan was hired as News Director in 2021.