SANTA FE, N.M. – The State Land Office is partnering with the New Mexico Land Grant Council on four fuelwood collection projects in the central and northern parts of the state, Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard announced today.
The projects include:
- Villanueva: This fuelwood project in San Miguel County will be a multi-year project that will help the New Mexico Land Grant Council provide the San Miguel de Vado Land Grant and surrounding communities access to fuelwood.
- Cebolla: The San Joaquín del Río Chama Land Grant paid for a contractor to cut and stack close to 85 cords (a cord is roughly 128 cubic feet) of fuelwood. San Joaquin de Rio Chama Land Grant will remove the fuelwood and distribute to its heirs and heirs of the Tierra Amarilla Land Grants.
- Copper Hill Santa Barbara: The Copper Hill Santa Barbara Land Grant is removing hazardous fuels from lands owned by the State Land Office to use as fuelwood and to prevent catastrophic wildfires into parts of the Rio Embudo watershed.
- East Mountain Bearcat: The State Land Office is harvesting 150-200 cords of fuelwood for the Tajique, Cañón de Carnué, Torreon, Chilili and Manzano Land Grants. This project is funded by the Claunch-Pinto Soil and Water Conservation District.
“New Mexico’s Land Grants and other traditional communities are an essential part of our state’s history and cultural identity. We are proud to work with the leaders of these communities to provide fuelwood for families this winter,” said Commissioner Garcia Richard. “I’m committed to using state lands to help communities across the state in meaningful and impactful ways. After one of the most difficult wildfire and flooding seasons in the state’s history, these projects will provide some respite to families in need.”
“The New Mexico Land Grant Council is excited to be working with the State Land Office on these local fuelwood projects,” said Land Grant Council Chairman Juan Sánchez. “Providing access to this much needed resource is essential to ensuring that New Mexicans in rural communities have adequate heating throughout the winter. The high cost of propane creates a serious challenge for individuals and families that are living on the margins, putting their health and safety at risk when temperatures fall. We are pleased that Commissioner Garcia Richard is committed to serving New Mexicans most in need.”
In May 2022, the New Mexico Land Grant Council and the State Land Office signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to collaborate on fuelwood collection projects. Under the agreement, the Land Grant Council advises the State Land Office on parcels within or near land grants that would be suitable for fuelwood collection projects. Meanwhile the State Land Office consults with the Land Grant Council on Fuelwood Harvesting Plans near land grant communities and provides reasonable estimates on the cost and timeline of the projects. The MOA runs through December 31, 2026, at which point it can be extended.
Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard has overseen the New Mexico State Land Office since 2019. In that time the agency has raised more than $5 billion for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and universities. Over 13 million acres of state trust land are leased for a variety of uses, including ranching and farming, renewable energy, business development, mineral development, and outdoor recreation. The State Land Office has a dual mandate to use state trust land to financially support vital public institutions, while simultaneously working to protect the land for future generations.