Carson National Forest

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Carson National Forest
IUCN category VI (protected area with sustainable use of natural resources)
Lake Fork, Pueblo, and Wheeler Pks.jpg
Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Carson National Forest
Map showing the location of Carson National Forest
Map showing the location of Carson National Forest
Location New Mexico, USA
Nearest city Taos, NM
Coordinates 36°31′02″N 106°04′01″W / 36.517222°N 106.066944°W / 36.517222; -106.066944Coordinates: 36°31′02″N 106°04′01″W / 36.517222°N 106.066944°W / 36.517222; -106.066944
Area 1,391,674 acres (5,631.90 km2)[1]
Established July 1, 1908[2]
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

Carson National Forest is a national forest in northern New Mexico, United States. It encompasses 6,070 square kilometers (1.5 million acres) and is administered by the United States Forest Service. The Forest Service's "mixed use" policy allows for its use for recreation, grazing, and resource extraction.

The forest was once inhabited by the Ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi) people, who left ruins of adobe dwellings and other artifacts at an archaeological site now called Pot Creek Cultural Site. Some areas of the forest were formerly lands granted to settlers by the Spanish monarchy and the Mexican government. After the Mexican-American War, the national forest was established, and was named for American pioneer Kit Carson. In 1967, the Alianza Federal de Mercedes, an organization dedicated to the restoration of Spanish and Mexican land grants, occupied Echo Amphitheater, an area of the forest in an attempt to recreate a historic land grant community. The occupants were evicted for overstaying camping permits. In 1982, the forest grew by 405 square kilometers (100,000 acres) when the Pennzoil corporation donated the Valle Vidal Unit to the American people.

Wheeler Peak, the highest mountain in New Mexico at 13,161 feet (4,011 m), is located in the National Forest.

Within the Carson National Forest are five designated and one proposed wilderness areas. Two of these are located mostly in neighboring Santa Fe National Forest (as indicated).

The forest is located mainly in Rio Arriba (63.4% of acreage) and Taos (34.65%) counties, but smaller areas extend eastward into western Mora and Colfax counties. Forest headquarters are located in Taos, New Mexico. There are local ranger district offices in Bloomfield, Canjilon, El Rito, Penasco, Questa, and Tres Piedras.[3]

Carson National Forest was established with the merger of Taos National Forest and part of Jemez National Forest on July 1, 1908.[4]

Map of Carson National Forest


  1. ^ "Land Areas of the National Forest System". U.S. Forest Service. January 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  2. ^ "The National Forests of the United States". Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  3. ^ USFS Ranger Districts by State
  4. ^ Davis, Richard C. (September 29, 2005), National Forests of the United States PDF (341 KB), Forest History Society 

External links[edit]

Fall colors near Tres Piedras, in the Carson National Forest
Wood hauler along the Rio Pueblo, 1941. An average rural family here would use about 20 loads like this per year for fuel wood