People itching for more outdoor recreational opportunities in Northern New Mexico will have several more options starting Monday (June 15), when most recreation sites in the Carson National Forest, which were closed in March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, will be reopened.
Campgrounds reopening include the Santa Barbara, Aqua Piedra and Comales in the Camino Real Ranger District, according to a press release from forest service spokesperson Javonne Goodman. The Hopewell Day Use site in the Tres Piedras Ranger District will also be reopened.
Group campgrounds will remain closed, however, due to standing New Mexico public health orders limiting group sizes to no more than five people, according to Friday's (June 12) announcement.
Recreation sites currently open in the El Rito and Canjilon Ranger Districts include Canjilon Lakes, Echo Amphitheater, El Rito and Trout Lakes. Developed campgrounds in the Questa Ranger District that have also remained open include Columbine, Fawn Lakes, June Bug, McCrystal and Shuree Ponds Picnic Site.
"Our campgrounds have always been a very special part of the recreation experience on the Carson National Forest," said James Duran, forest supervisor. "We are happy to be able to welcome visitors back for an overnight adventure in their favorite campground, and we appreciate your patience while we determined the best path forward to safely reopen our developed sites."
Forest service restroom maintenence at the sites may be limited and are usable "at your own risk," Goodman wrote. Water may also be unavailable at some campgrounds that have in the past provided potable or nonpotable water. Campers are advised to bring their own water supply. As always, people making use of the sites are asked to "pack-in, pack out" to keep the forest clean.
The Carson also remains under "stage 2" fire restrictions, which includes a ban on campfires and charcoal grills. Propane stoves and lanterns equipped with an on-off switch are permissible.
More information can be found on the Carson National Forest website.