Updated forest order protects public access to public lands; conserves natural resources

SILVER CITY, NM, May 28, 2023 – The Gila National Forest has updated its forest order limiting length of stay on the entire forest to 14 days out of any 30 consecutive days. The purpose of the order is to protect natural resources from degradation due to long-term use and to maximize the availability of camping areas for all recreational visitors.

“Long term use of campsites harms wildlife habitats and watersheds by compacting soils, which damages the roots of plants, contributing to lost vegetation. Erosion of soil and exposed human waste pollutes local waterways,” said Gila National Forest Supervisor Camille Howes. “This order provides a chance for periods of rest, allowing soils and vegetation to recover between uses. It also provides management consistency between forests, which helps visitors know what to expect.”

Limiting the length of stay to 14 days on the Gila National Forest also allows other visitors opportunities for use. The order is in effect from May 19, 2023 through May 18, 2025 and includes all National Forest System lands administered by the Gila National Forest, including those identified as Apache National Forest within New Mexico. A similar order was previously in effect on the Gila National Forest, until the previous order expired. 

The new forest order can be found on the Gila National Forest website at Gila National Forest - Alerts & Notices (usda.gov). For more information contact Maribeth Pecotte at 575-388-8211 or Maribeth.Pecotte@usda.gov

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