Stick structures, painted rocks don’t belong in the forest

New Mexico News

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – One place artistic expression is not welcomed is the Santa Fe National Forest. Forest officials say they’ve been seeing people build structures out of sticks. They say these stick structures pose safety hazards because they are not stable and could also catch fire.

“We don’t know who is building these structures and why, but we do know they pose significant health and safety hazards,” Española District Ranger Sandy Hurlocker said in a news release Monday. “The structures are not stable and the wood is extremely dry, raising the risk of collapse or catching on fire. Given the extreme drought and high fire danger right now, we worry about the potentially catastrophic consequences of a wildfire in one of our most popular recreation corridors.”

Another unwelcome trend they are seeing, impromptu art projects like painted rocks. Painting rocks in the forest is not only illegal but can also hurt the environment. Anyone caught painting rocks or building stick structures can face a $5,000 fine.

SFNF says the public can report stick structures, painted rocks, and other improper installations and their approximate location to Forest Headquarters at 505-438-5300 or any of the Ranger District offices.

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