PEEC Hosts Hybrid Talk On Recent Pandemic Impacts On Outdoor Recreation Areas

Jennifer Sublett, front, leads a PEEC trail workday in 2018. Photo Courtesy PEEC


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our National Forests have seen a record number of visitors seeking to escape and unwind in the outdoors. These surges in visitation brought forth a renewed public appreciation for trails and outdoor spaces but also some challenges for land management organizations. 

On Mar. 31 at 7 p.m. PEEC welcomes Jennifer Sublett from the US Forest Service for a talk titled, “Pandemic Effects on Recreation in Santa Fe National Forest.”  She will discuss how this crisis has changed recreation spaces and stewardship practices in Santa Fe National Forest and how local communities can help. This free talk will be offered both in-person and on Zoom, and advance registration is required at

When asked about some of the impacts we’ve seen on our local public lands, Sublett relayed this story: “We visited the Resumidero campground in May 2020 and found toilet building destruction. The bathrooms were locked until the middle of June and prior to then, people were using the campground. If your bathroom is locked, what would you do?  Someone took a hacksaw to the deadbolt on one bathroom door and another bathroom in the campground had the grate on the door partially removed enough so somebody could slip inside to use the bathroom.  At least that was their intention; not sure if they actually fit through the small opening.  Other stories are less shocking.  People that cannot use the bathroom facilities will find the closest bush, over and over again.”

Sublett hails from Normal, Illinois (actual name) and has worked for the Santa Fe National Forest for almost 13 years. She divides her time between the Espanola and Coyote Ranger District’s zoned recreation programs with an emphasis in trails, wilderness, developed recreation, special uses, and volunteer program management. Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s in Recreation Program Management from Illinois State University, a Master’s in Outdoor Education from Texas A&M University, and a Graduate Certificate in Wilderness Management from the University of Montana. When she is not hard at work participating in the management of a busy and varied recreation program, she loves to hike, backpack, canoe, and camp. Currently, she lives in White Rock, with her husband, Joel, and two former shelter cats, Meshkey & Nefertiti.