Lincoln National Forest

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Lincoln National Forest
IUCN category VI (protected area with sustainable use of natural resources)
Lincoln National Forest - view from Crest Trail
Map showing the location of Lincoln National Forest
Map showing the location of Lincoln National Forest
Location New Mexico, United States
Nearest city Alamogordo, NM
Coordinates 32°50′02″N 105°41′49″W / 32.834°N 105.697°W / 32.834; -105.697Coordinates: 32°50′02″N 105°41′49″W / 32.834°N 105.697°W / 32.834; -105.697
Area 1,103,897 acres (4,467.31 km2)[1]
Established July 26, 1902[2]
Governing body U.S. Forest Service
Website Lincoln National Forest
Map of Lincoln National Forest
Hikers on Big Bonito Trail, Lincoln National Forest

The Lincoln National Forest is a protected national forest in the State of New Mexico in the southwestern United States. It was established in 1902 and covers 1,103,897 acres (446,731 ha).[3] It was named in honor of Abraham Lincoln, who was 16th president of the United States and is the birthplace of Smokey Bear, the living symbol of the campaign to prevent forest fires.[4] Forest headquarters are in Alamogordo, New Mexico. There are local ranger district offices in Carlsbad, Cloudcroft, and Ruidoso.[5]

The Lincoln National Forest borders the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation and stretches across several New Mexico counties, including:

It is also home to the National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak at the village of Sunspot.


The Lincoln Forest Reserve was established by the General Land Office on July 26, 1902 with 500,000 acres (2,000 km2). On July 1, 1908 Gallinas National Forest was absorbed, and on July 1, 1917, Alamo National Forest as well.[6] Alamo had previously consisted of Sacramento National Forest and Guadalupe National Forest, which still exist as the Sacramento and Guadalupe Districts of Lincoln.[7]


Young boy sits on ridgeline in Lincoln National Forest, Smokey Bear Ranger District

The Lincoln National Forest comprises portions of four mountain ranges:

Elevations range between 4,000 and 11,500 feet (1,219 to 3,505 meters) and pass through five different life zones from Chihuahuan Desert to subalpine forest. Vegetation ranges from rare cacti in the lower elevations to Engelmann Spruce in the higher.


Temperatures vary with elevation. At higher elevations (7,000 feet/2,134 meters and up), summer temperatures range between 40 °F/4 °C (night) to 78 °F/26 °C (day), while winter temperatures can drop to a -15 °F/-26 °C at night and rise to 50 °F/10 °C during the day. At lower elevations (6,000 to 7,000 feet/1,829 to 2,134 meters), summer temperatures range between 50 °F/10 °C to 85 °F/29 °C, while during the winter, temperatures rarely fall below 0 °F/-18 °C and usually run from teens to 50s (-10 °C to 10 °C). At the lowest elevations (below 6,000 feet/1,829 meters), temperatures are generally 10 °F/5 °C higher throughout the year.

Spring is the windy season. High winds dry the forest to the point of extreme fire danger. Fire season usually starts in March or April and continues through mid-July. If the fire danger becomes too high, open fires may be prohibited. The rainy season begins in July and continues through September. The first snows fall in late October or early November.

Towns and cities[edit]

The following towns and cities lie within the bounds of the Lincoln National Forest:



Major highways[edit]

The following major highways traverse the Lincoln National Forest:

Wilderness areas[edit]

There are two officially designated wilderness areas lying within Lincoln National Forest that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Land Areas of the National Forest System" (PDF). U.S. Forest Service. January 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  2. ^ "The National Forests of the United States" (PDF). Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  3. ^ Table 6 - NFS Acreage by State, Congressional District and County - United States Forest Service - September 30, 2007
  4. ^ Lincoln National Forest, a New Mexico State Park near Alamogordo
  5. ^ USFS Ranger Districts by State
  6. ^ Davis, Richard C. (September 29, 2005). "National Forests of the United States" (pdf). The Forest History Society. 
  7. ^ "About Us". Lincoln National Forest. U.S. Forest Service. 2008-08-25. 

External links[edit]