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NewMexico Acalde NM Closing????

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My friend Henry was at the meeting, below is an email he sent regarding the closing of Acalde riding area:


Since many of you Colorado riders come down to Alcalde, NM to ride in the winter, I thought this would be of interest to CTPA.

This morning, Thursday Dec 15, we met with Tami Torres of the Taos BLM office in regard to the Alcalde, El Palacio, OHV area. Unknown to us the BLM is planning a big land swap with the Okhay Owingeh tribe which will pretty much wipe out the riding area as we know it. The swap will encompass a one mile by five mile stretch of land which will include the staging area which we use now and the land south of the staging area which has most of the trails used in the events that are held in the area. The land that Okhay Owingeh plans to swap is not even connected to

the El Palacio riding area area and is not designated OHV. Unfortunately if this proposal becomes reality, a large part of the good, fun trails will be lost and the outlook for continuing the racing events will be dim. Since the existing staging area will be lost, a new staging area will have to be designating and established and new trails will have to be built in order to access the remaining trails. Will the BLM require an EIS to accomplish these changes? The whole situation is unacceptable for the OHV community.

Approximately a year and half ago we met with the BLM in regard to the El Palacio riding area and they assured us that the area would remain virtually unchanged and the only requirement would be to designate trail use and allocate the area on the north side to hiking and horse travel. We agreed that this proposal was entirely acceptable and now we discover that the a good portion of the area eliminated for OHV use.

Since the BLM just released the Proposed RMP/Final EIS on December 2, 2011 and comments can be made for 30 days ending Jan 2, 2012, we plan on commenting on the RMP to protest this land swap and encourage everyone to do the same ASAP. The RMP is 516 pages long. Quite a vast amount of material to digest in a short amount of time. After a quick scan of the document, I could not find any reference of the land swap but that is not to say it isn't in there. We wonder if they are swapping this land without public input etc. which is unacceptable and unlawful.

We are trying to schedule another meeting with Sam DesGeorges, Field Manager or Brad Higdon, Planning /Environmental Coordinator, to further clarify the situation.

As soon as we gather more information on this swap we will appraise everyone. In the meantime please send in your Comments . Every bit counts so do it now. Information about the RMP can be found at http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/fo/Taos_Field_Office/taos_proposed_rmp.html .

Don't let this happen and further decrease our available riding areas.

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