Santa Fe National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the guilty party.     Photo: Bud Ellison / Flickr

Ski Trails Illegally Logged in Santa Fe Forest

Officials offering cash reward for information

Miles of side trails were illegally logged in New Mexico’s Santa Fe National Forest, a representative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture told Outside on Tuesday. Officials first became aware of the problem after receiving an email from a concerned hiker on September 22 and announced the investigation on October 1. Mike Gardiner, assistant special agent in charge at the U.S. Forest Service​, said that the type of logging leads him to believe the trees were cut to make way for backcountry skiing.

“You’re supposed to leave [the forest] as it was a hundred years ago,” Clifton Russell, assistant public affairs officer for the Santa Fe National Forest, told Outside. “That’s the whole intent.”

Russell said that between 300 and 400 trees were felled, creating alleys between ten feet and 40 feet wide. The bottom ten feet of trees on the edges of these paths were clipped of branches. The trees themselves were left where they were chopped. He believes the felling began between two and three years ago, but recent activity has also taken place in the past few months.

Gardner told Outside that the guilty party would face a Class B misdemeanor, which has a maximum sentence of a $6,000 fine or six months in jail. He compared the loggers to poachers, and said, “You’d think that they want to take care of these places, but they just don’t.”

Mike Thurber, a writer for Outside and an active backcountry skier and snowboarder in Santa Fe, said that rumors of thinning trees in the Santa Fe backcountry are common but doing so at this scale was unheard of. 

“Whether or not you agree with forest management policy, it’s not the citizen’s job to take that job on yourself,” Thurber told Outside. “Cutting runs into the backcountry is antithetical to everything that the backcountry is about.” 

The U.S. Forest Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the guilty party. Those with information should contact the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations at 505-842-3363.

UPDATE: OCTOBER 6, 17:30 MDT: The sentence about the timeframe of the felling has been updated for clarification.


Rower Abandons Atlantic Crossing

Outen was rescued by a passing cargo ship, the Federal Oshima, on its way to Montreal, Canada, but left her own boat behind.     Photo: Sarah Outen / Facebook

Rower Abandons Atlantic Crossing

Sarah Outen rescued by cargo ship

Adventurer Sarah Outen sought outside help on Saturday during her attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat, according to the BBC. She had been at sea for 143 days when the weather turned stormy, with 69 mph winds and massive waves, due to Hurricane Joaquin. She was rescued by a passing cargo ship, the Federal Oshima, on its way to Montreal, Canada, but left her own boat behind.

Outen first set out to complete a circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle, kayak, and rowboat in 2011. Though her original plan was to finish the journey in two and a half years, setbacks—including boat damage from a tropical storm—delayed the trip significantly. Outen left Cape Cod in May 2015 to begin the final leg of her journey. She planned to reach London, her original starting point, in September 2015, the BBC reports.

Outen was the first woman to cross the north Pacific Ocean solo in 2013, according to the BBC, and, as Outside reported, the first woman to row across the Indian Ocean solo in 2009.

“It was a very easy decision to make in terms of calling an end to the row,” Outen said in a phonecast update on her website. She said that the conditions were just as bad as those that prompted her to seek assistance during an earlier attempt to cross the Pacific Ocean.

She has not yet announced whether she will try again to row across the Atlantic.



Man fights off grizzly attack by shoving his arm down the animal's throat.     Photo: Rob Hurson / Flickr

Hunter Survives Grizzly Attack

Shoved arm down bear’s throat

Chase Dellwo, a 26-year-old bow hunter in Montana, escaped an attack by a male grizzly bear on Saturday, according to the Billings Gazette. He scared off the animal by shoving his arm down its throat. 

Dellwo was stalking a heard of elk with his brother northwest of Choteau, Montana, when he came across a 350- to 400-pound grizzly sleeping alongside a creek. High winds, rain, and snow prevented Dellwo from noticing the bear until he was only three feet away from it. 

The bear woke up, knocked Dellwo over, and bit the top of his head. It let go but then returned, biting Dellwo’s leg and shaking him violently. As the bear came at Dellwo for a third time, Dellwo pushed his arm down its throat, and the bear retreated.  

Dellwo located his brother, who drove him to the Benefis Teton Medical Center. Dellwo received staples and stitches in his head and face and treatment for deep puncture wounds in his leg. 

“I saw a six-point elk on the way out. That was disappointing,” Dellwo told the Great Falls Tribune.