The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) today issued an order temporarily closing a three-mile segment of Forest Trail 137, also known as the East Fork Trail, to protect public health and safety while crews work on a 178-acre unit of the Southwest Jemez Mountains (SWJM) Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project.
The closure starts at the East Fork Trailhead off NM Highway 4 and extends three miles to the east. The restricted area includes the picnic area at the East Fork Trailhead and 300 feet on either side of that three-mile segment of the trail.
Crews will be conducting mechanical thinning under a SWJM task order to reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire along the trail and in the surrounding forest. The SWJM project is a long-term collaborative effort to restore forest and watershed health on 210,000 acres in the Jemez Mountains.
During the closure, visitors to the area will still have access to multiple recreation opportunities:
- Starting from the Las Conchas Trailhead, the first mile of the East Fork Trail will remain open. This stretch includes popular rock climbing walls and access to the East Fork Jemez River. It is also part of the Los Alamos Nature Center’s Passport to the Pajarito Plateau program.
- The Las Conchas Day Use Site will remain open for picnics, fishing and hiking.
- The 5-mile trail from the East Fork Trailhead west to Battleship Rock Picnic Site will remain open to hikers.
The closure order is effective until December 31, 2019, unless it is rescinded earlier. Federal, state and local officers, members of an organized rescue team or firefighting force, landowners accessing their private property and any others authorized by permit are exempt from the closure order.
Violation of the closure order is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, imprisonment of not more than six months, or both.
Copies of the closure order and map are available at the Santa Fe National Forest Headquarters, the Jemez Ranger District Office and the SFNF website.