Forest Mayordomo CFRP


In June 2018, the Cerro Negro Forest Council was awarded a grant under the U.S. Forest Service’s Collaborative Forest Restoration Program to thin 300 acres on the Carson National Forest between the communities of Valdez and San Cristobal. Work began in Fall 2018. It will take three years to complete the project.

The thinning itself is being done by local woodcutters, known as leñeros. Leñeros are local residents recruited by the council. They work under the supervision of the Forest Council’s mayordomo and asistante. All work must be done according to U.S. Forest Service rules and regulations.

Leñeros are allotted small blocks (about 1 acre each) and can keep all harvested material for personal use and/or sale. Leñeros are reimbursed on a per-acre basis ($300 per acre) to cover reasonable expenses for equipment wear and supplies. The mayordomo verifies that all work within a block has been completed before reimbursement payments are authorized. An estimated 100 leñeros will participate over the course of the three-year project.

The first group of 10 leñeros has been selected by the council and were assigned blocks in April 2019. More leñeros will be brought on the project once the mayordomo and council are ready to oversee more workers. If you’re waiting for a block, please be patient. We want this project to succeed, and that means starting slow to make sure we get it right.

The thinning work will be monitored by students from Taos High School who will team up with the New Mexico Highlands University Forestry classes and the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute to provide valuable data to land while providing students with professional forestry experience.


Forest Mayordomo CFRP project site

The 300 acres to be thinned by the Forest Council and participating leñeros is located north of Valdez, within the Carson National Forest. The project area includes limited access from the south via Gallina Canyon Road and Turkey Springs Road as well as public access from the north via Forest Road. Click here to download a full-size copy of this map.


Drone footage of project site courtesy Rich Schrader/River Source.


Check back to this page for more project updates as they are posted.