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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 1,103,828 acres.  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. Forest headquarters are in Alamogordo, New Mexico. There are local ranger district offices in Carlsbad, Cloudcroft, and Ruidoso.


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The Lincoln National Forest borders the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation and stretches across several New Mexico counties, including:
Chaves County 40,332 acres
Eddy County 135,013 acres
Lincoln County 364,731 acres
Otero County 563,752 acres

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. Alamo had previously consisted of Sacramento National Forest and Guadalupe National Forest, which still exist as the Sacramento and Guadalupe Districts of Lincoln.

The Lincoln National Forest comprises portions of four mountain ranges:
Capitan Mountains
Guadalupe Mountains
Sacramento Mountains
Sierra Blanca

Elevations range between 4,000 to 11,500 feet 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.

Cedar Creek Picnic Area
Located just east of the Smokey Bear Ranger Station on Forest Road 88.  This picnic area offers water, accessible bathrooms, picnic tables for the general public. It also offers a reservation only group area.

Schoolhouse Picnic Area
Located just below Bonito Lake between Forest Road 107 and the Bonito River. This day-use picnic area rests under the tall Ponderosa Pines and offers a lovely spot for a lunch. Rest rooms available.

Sleepy Grass Picnic Area
Located about 1 mile east of the Village of Cloudcroft.  4 picnic sites available for use.

Trestle Recreation Area
Located at the west end of the Village of Cloudcroft, the Trestle Recreation Area offers a day-use picnicking site with access to popular area trails. Water, restroom facilities, interpretive information, access to trails, picnic sites. This is a day-use facility only.

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