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DSA Letter to NM Congressional Representatives Regarding the Hyde Park Project

June 10, 2018

Representative Ben Ray Lujan
2231 Rayburn HOB, Washington DC 20515
attention: Cliff Rees

Senator Tom Udall
531 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510-3101
attention: Michele Jacquez-Ortiz; Michele_Jacquez-

Senator Martin Heinrich
702 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
attention: Patricia Dominguez;

re: Santa Fe Headwaters Forest, Hyde Park project

Dear Rep. Lujan and Senators Udall and Heinrich:

The Democratic Socialists of America has rapidly grown to be the largest organization of its kind working for democratic socialist policies in the United States. We advocate for a society and economy that is democratically run and embodies the shared values of liberty, equality, and solidarity for every citizen. The Santa Fe Chapter of DSA is an active and growing member of this vibrant movement.

It has come to our attention that the Santa Fe National Forest recently approved the nearly 2,000 acre Hyde Park wildlands urban interface project in wilderness quality lands less than ten miles from Santa Fe's historic plaza. It proposes to remove more than 90 percent of the trees and burn nearly every acre.

An environmental impact statement was not prepared that fully involves the public, analyzes a range of reasonable alternatives, considers the best available science and mandates measures to protect water quality, soils and wildlife habitat. Instead, the Hyde Park project was approved under the categorical exclusion provision of the National Environmental Policy Act, the lowest level of analysis possible.

Most importantly, the Hyde Park project is the first in the Santa Fe Headwaters Forest, Santa Fe's scenic 167 square mile forested backdrop. It includes the Santa Fe Ski Basin, Hyde Memorial State Park, the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed, portions of the Pecos Wilderness and Tesuque and Nambe Pueblos, extensive inventoried roadless areas and high value habitat for breeding birds and other wildlife. The Headwaters provides recreation and outdoor enjoyment to more than 100,000 nearby residents and thousands of visitors.

The adverse cumulative, indirect and direct impacts of slash and burn practices over many years will prevent roadless lands in the Headwaters ever being considered for wilderness protection. These impacts include the effects on air quality from prescribed burning and the effects on water quality, soils and wildlife from mechanical treatments including stream sedimentation, soil erosion, wildlife displacement, habitat modification and the spread of invasive weed species.

We request that you each become advocates for a hard look at these activities. At minimum, an environmental impact statement based on the best available science that involves concerned citizens to the fullest extent possible must be done before the trees fall and intentionally set fires burn. In addition, your support for wilderness designation for more than 30,000 roadless acres on western side of the Pecos Wilderness is urgently needed.

Socialism, wilderness preservation and sustainability are inextricably linked in the pioneering figure of Bob Marshall (1901-1939), a wilderness advocate and unabashed socialist who served as a Forest Service employee during the 1930s. Remembering his legacy, we urge you to act boldly now in the public interest to preserve these wilderness quality lands for the benefit of future generations.


David Best
Cathy Garcia
co-chairs of DSA-SF

See Senator Martin Heinrich's request to the Department of Agriculture (which oversees the National Forest Service).

See the National Forest Service's reply to the DSA.