Come Celebrate Rio de Las Trampas Forest Council’s Leñero Program

Editor’s Note: The Rio de Las Trampas Forest Council’s restoration program on the Camino Real Ranger District has been thinning acres between the villages of El Valle and Las Trampas since 2019. Based on the traditional acequia system, a mayordomo oversees the work of leñeros (wood cutters) who thin an overstocked forest to provide both forest products and forest health while earning $300 per acre. The Council was awarded a CFRP grant this fall to expand the project to an additional 216 acres. Everyone is welcome to attend this meeting of all who helped the Council obtain the CRFP grant. The Council will be recruiting leñeros as the program expands. If you are interested in participating, please contact mayordomo Rod Dominguez at: or 505 239-3485.

Supporting the Rio de Las Trampas Forest Council’s Leñero Program – Collaborative Forest Restoration Project (CFRP)

Kick-Off Meeting

Monday, November 22nd, 2021  |  1:00 pm  |  Chamisal Fire Department

Please join us on Monday, November 22nd at 1:00 pm outside the Chamisal Fire Department for a meeting to kick off the Rio de las Trampas CFRP. All project partners and members of the public are encouraged to attend and be a part of this discussion. Thank you for your support of this important work.


1:00 – Welcome and Introductions  

1:20 – A brief history of the Trampas CFRP

1:30 – Overview of CFRP goals and objectives

1:50 – Timeline and next steps   

2:00 – Q&A and next steps  |  Refreshments

*  Please dress warmly and bring a folding chair.

Please reach out to Leonora Pepper with any questions or comments:  |  505-490-5567


  1. Dear Kay Matthews,

    Thank you for the notification about the Rio de Las Trampas Forest Council. I am encouraged at this news!

    Can you direct me to any of your posts – or those by anyone else you know of – in which the issues of forest thinning are discussed? I ask because I keep hearing from people who think the U.S. Forest Service’s thinning and controlled burn programs are contrary to good management. They seem fanatical about this.

    This really bothers me because I’ve been taught since the 1970s that forests in the U.S. west and southwest used to be much thinner than they are now, and are unhealthily overgrown because of decades of fire suppression. (One teacher said this year that the national forest outside Santa Fe has about five times too many trees for good forest health.) I had thought that this situation was well established by now; so it’s disconcerting to me to hear what sounds like fanatical anti-government, anti-thinning activism.

    Any impartial views and information on this would be welcome, if you can point me to it.

    Thank you in any case.

    Greg Corning Pojoaque (new-comer)

  2. Yes, Greg, this controversy has been raging for many years, propagated by folks like our local Sam Hitt and California’s Chad Hansen, despite documented scientific evidence that supports thinning as a forest restoration tool to improve watershed health and protect communities from wildfire. I covered it extensively in La Jicarita (see and other articles in 2013 and 2014). You might want to listen to the Cultural Energy interview where J.R. Logan, the Wildland/Urban Interface director for Taos County, and I discuss this very issue: go to the website,, and then click on the Forest Restoration program.

    • Re-read Jon Klingle’s(wildlife biologist) comment in a previous issue. Thinning is not universally appropriate: “Historically, fire in spruce-fir has been uncommon, with a natural fire return interval of 200+ years. Restoration practices such as thinning, which is appropriate for systems such as ponderosa pine, are destructive, not restorative, in spruce-fir.”

      • The Rio de Las Trampas Forest Council is thinning in mixed ponderosa/piñon juniper. We’re aware that different ecosystems require different approaches.

      • If you want to see first hand what a fire in a “natural” spruce/fir ecosystem looks like in our present day climate…take a drive up La Junta canyon. Just after the road tops out and into the next watershed you’ll be in the Luna fire scar. This high altitude fire in very thick spruce/fir forest and the resulting devastation might be very instructive. Ideas of “a natural fire return interval of 200+ years” in spruce/fir forests may need to be revised in light of where we are now and where we’re headed with climate change.

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