Page images
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]
[graphic][merged small][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

ALE of the largest volume of timber ever ad


vertised by the Bureau of Land Management in New Mexico, 4,297,000 board-feet of ponderosa pine, set the stage late in 1955 for an excellent demonstration of multiple use of the Federal range.

Through the medium of the timber sale the land is to receive not only silvicultural treatment but much improved range utilization and fire control.

Pelona Mountain, elevation 9,204 feet, straddles the Continental Divide in west central New Mexico. It is located in the Magdalena Grazing District with headquarters at Socorro and embraces about 30,000 acres of public domain with some State and private lands intermingled. The 2 grazing allotments on it are parts of 2 immense cattle and sheep ranches containing close to 200 sections each. Some 3 million board-feet of timber was harvested from the east half of the mountain in 1952 and 1953.

BLM's worst New Mexico fire swept much of the western portion of Pelona Mountain in the summer of 1950 when there was unusually good grass to carry the flames. Although the damage to mature timber appeared light at first, subsequent investigation showed that more was dying each year. Fire proved to be only one of the enemies of this timber, however. Drouth, mistletoe, rot, and bark beetles have taken a heavy toll. Porcupine damage has been extensive. Windthrows were also on the increase.

The Bureau commenced presale work in June 1954, when district personnel started the difficult search for the few stone corner monuments that were to be found. Many miles of line had to be run in order to locate the boundaries of adjoining State and private lands in an area covering the greater part of a township. When sufficient control had been established on aerial photos, the drafting office prepared a planimetric map to assist the foresters with sale layout and identification of drainages. The area was divided into a north and a south logging unit. At first it was planned to sell them separately and the smaller north unit was advertised in October of 1954, amounting to about 1.2 million board-feet.

382958 0-56

For the first time in New Mexico a BLM timber sale failed to attract any bidders. It was therefore decided to prepare the south unit for harvesting and to combine the two in a larger, more attractive sale. In subfreezing temperatures the following January marking was commenced on the south logging unit. The marking and road estimating were completed in July with the help of range management personnel aind the S. & M engineer. The combined sale called for building 56 miles of roads, which in itself placed the sale in an unusual category.

During the period of advertising, three lumber companies asked to see the timber. In order to facilitate the inspection of such a large area in one day horses were obtained from the nearest rancher. Riding a 10-mile loop, the foresters were able to show the lumbermen a representative portion of the timber and road construction. Appraised at $7 per MBF the high bid received was $10.15 and the total revenue as $43,614.55, a gain of 45 percent or $13,535.55 over the appraisal.

The silvicultural treatment and monetary revenues are not the sole benefits of this timber sale by any means. Upon completion of cutting there will be a network of roads throughout the area which will give a much greater degree of fire control in a high danger area.

The roads will not only permit the range and forestry technicians to inspect the area readily but will also provide access for the grazing permittees. Water can be hauled where ordinarily none was available.

Dirt stock tanks can be built and cattle can use some excellent Federal range that has had practically no use.

Increased use of forage by livestock will reduce the fire danger and increase the income of both the Bureau and its range users.

The timber purchaser will have a source of logs to sustain his mill for another 2 to 3 years.

Big game have multiplied sufficiently so that the State plans to abolish a game refuge in that

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »