At the beginning of October, Forest Officials reported that they had found a vast amount of felled trees in what appear to be illegally established backcountry ski runs in the Pecos Wilderness and Santa Fe National Forest, which lie just outside the Ski Santa Fe resort.
However, since the forest service press release, not a soul has been charged and officials continue to find more felled trees that they believe are a part of some groups or some individuals attempt to create some secret backcountry runs just outside of Ski Santa Fe. In conjunction with the illegal runs, forest service officials are offering a bounty of $5000 for any information regarding the whereabouts of the suspects responsible.
Initially, officials accounted for between 300-400 felled trees but now the total is coming close to 1,000 trees!
The trees cut down include Subalpine Firs and Engelmann Spruce trees reports KOAT ABC Albequerque. Not only are the trees important for wildlife habitat but the illegal cutting is causing concerns about water quality, erosion, and the onset of Bark Beetle.
Our Initial Coverage: US Forest Service Offers Reward For Culprits of Illegal Backcoutry Ski Runs
In an interview with KOAT, Mark Allison of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance told one reporter, “It’s very disturbing, the more we go out there, the more trails we find.” Allison later added, “our national forest and our wilderness area is much more important than a few-minute thrill ride down a mountainside.”
As of now the reward remains at $5,000 for any information regarding the suspects whereabouts and if found, the culprits could face up to a $6,000 fine or six-months of jail time.
If you have information about this incident, contact U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations at 505-842-3363.
You can find the entire KOAT article here: Nearly 1,000 trees illegally felled for rogue ski trails