Re: Pinos Altos thinning opinion letter
Dear editor, A recent opinion article published in the Silver City Daily Press on October 5, 2023 contained a factual error that I would like to correct. The letter was regarding recent thinning work and herbicide spraying on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands near Pinos Altos. The letter incorrectly associated the Gila National Forest's proposed Silver City West Hazardous Fuels Reduction project, for which a public meeting was held in August 2023, with the current action on BLM public lands.
The USDA Forest Service and the BLM are separate federal agencies, each responsible for managing its own lands. Gila National Forest does not take management actions (other than firefighting under interagency agreements) on BLM-managed lands. Decisions about how the BLM implements land management actions, such as fuels reduction and application of herbicide belong to the BLM.
The Gila National Forest has not yet completed analysis on the proposed Silver City West project. The forest is reviewing public comments submitted in response to the scoping period that occurred in August. Comments will assist in identifying issues of concern to be analyzed in an Environmental Assessment. A decision on the project is not expected for at least six months. Members of the public can stay up to date on the status of the Silver City West project at www.fs.usda.gov/project/gila/?project=64491 .
Elizabeth Toney, Gila National Forest Silver City District Ranger