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Forest Service to Host Valle Vidal Forum

The Carson National Forest will host an open house on March 31, 2005 in Santa Fe to discuss the 100,000 acre Valle Vidal Unit.

The forum will be the third in a series to solicit public input on how the Valle Vidal unit should be managed. The National Forest is in the process of updating its forest management place to include Valle Vidal, which was omitted from the original Carson Forest Land and Resource Management Plan adopted in 1986.

A popular snowmobiling and hiking destination located between Cimarron and Costilla, El Paso Corporation has requested to lease 40,000 acres for exploration and coal bed methane gas drilling. Hundreds of people have attended past open houses held in Taos and Ratón and more than 3,500 written comments have been submitted.

The Santa Fe open house will be held on March 31, 2005 at the Sweeny Center, 201 Marcy Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico. The doors open to the public at 6:00 pm for sign up and to allow the public to dialogue with Carson personnel prior to presentations, slated to begin at 7:00 pm. In addition to openning presentations by the Forest Service, five or six brief group presentations that represent NM voices will be part of the open house. Group presentations will include the Valle Vidal Coalition, Albuquerque Widlife Federation and other stakeholders.

A moderator will facilitate the presentations by the groups. Once the groups have presented their statements for the Valle Vidal, the public is once again welcomed to participate in an informal and open dialogue with Carson personnel on issues or concerns relative to the Valle Vidal and/or the Forest Plan amendment. Public comments on why they value the Valle Vidal will be accepted during the open house but can also be mailed to the Carson National Forest on the self addressed briefing paper that will be provided during sign up. Comments can also be electronically mailed to comments-southwestern-carson@fs.fed.us.

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