Teaching Importance of Forest Health to Campers, Hikers and Other Outdoor Enthusiasts and Public in Taos, New Mexico

Posted May 30, 2017

Partners Create Forest Thinning Demonstration Site in Highway 150 Campgrounds

Taos, New Mexico: Campers, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts will get a unique view of forest thinning at a demonstration site in campgrounds along Highway 150 in Taos Valley.

The Taos Valley Watershed Coalition (TVWC) is launching a project to improve forest health and protect people, water and wildlife. By removing clusters of small trees that can fuel damaging fires, forests become healthier and more resilient.

“A primary goal is to restore and protect Taos Valley’s forested headwaters, ensuring water for 30,000 people in this region today and into the future,” says Dawn Boulware, a member of the TCWC and Director of Human Resources, Taos Ski Valley, Inc. “This work also helps our forests adapt to warming temperatures.”

This demonstration project is part of The Nature Conservancy-led Rio Grande Water Fund designed to restore 600,000-acres of at-risk forests and to secure water for 1 million people. Forested mountains are nature’s water storage and filtering facilities, but frequent, high-severity wildfires and subsequent flooding threaten our communities and water.

“Working together is key for Rio Grande Water Fund to be successful,” says Laura McCarthy, The Nature Conservancy in New Mexico’s associate director. “By leveraging public/private donations and building partnerships, we can work at a scale that truly makes a difference.”

Within the Highway 150 project area, the Forest Service will cut down overgrown trees while developing educational outreach. Side-by-side photos of thinned and un-thinned forests will accompany interpretive signs that explain how to maintain a healthy watershed. A watershed is land where all surrounding rivers, lakes and streams drain.

“This demonstration site is a great way to share the story about the importance of forest restoration and the many benefits it provides,” says Jack Lewis, District Ranger with the Carson National Forest. “Forests are overgrown with brush and trees, and thinning is essential for resilience to wildfire.”

The demonstration site is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.
The Taos Ski Valley Foundation and LOR Foundation provided critical funding for the collaborative effort.

“We are pleased to support the Rio Grande Water Fund and corresponding efforts to educate the public about the crucial role of forest management,” says Louis Bacon, Founder and Chairman of The Moore Charitable Foundation and Taos Ski Valley Foundation.

About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.