By KAY MATTHEWS
There has been some confusion in the Peñasco area as to the intent of a meeting scheduled for the Community Center on Saturday, December 15 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm. The flier for the meeting states the purpose is to discuss the idea of establishing a “forest council comprised of local stakeholders to manage forest restoration projects and wood harvesting in the Camino Real Ranger District.” It is unclear who is sponsoring the meeting—the Forest Service or the other groups listed on the flier, Forest Stewards Guild and the Nature Conservancy—or exactly what is meant by a forest council.
I called Matt Piccarello of Forest Stewards Guild for some clarification. Matt explained that the meeting is to explore the idea of reinstating a program similar to that of the former Contract Stewardship program that was administered for many years by timber specialist Henry Lopez on the Camino Real Ranger District. Under this program Lopez and his crew marked approximately one-acre forest blocks with a designated prescription that were allotted to families, primarily in areas of wildland/urban interface, to thin, protect communities from fire, and provide personal firewood. A program on the Questa Ranger District has instituted a stewardship program that is administrated by a Forest Mayordomo and citizen council.
Piccarello emphasized that the meeting on Saturday is a preliminary one to gather input on the idea of a stewardship program on the Camino Real District. Everyone is invited.