ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A mass launch of balloons at the kickoff of an annual hot-air balloon festival in New Mexico has been cancelled because of high winds. Hundreds of hot-air balloons were expected to rise into the sky early Saturday morning at the 41st Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta The Albuquerque Journal reports the launch was delayed from 5:45 a.m. and then cancelled at 7 a.m. Groans and sighs could be heard from the launch field as a public address announcer passed on the news. Winds were at about 30 mph at 1,000 feet and well above safety limits. The two-day event drew slightly more than 700,000 spectators last year.
ATV's in US Forests debate
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — It was supposed to take the U.S. Forest Service four years to decide which roads and trails throughout the nation's vast network of forests should be designated for travel by motorcycles, four-wheelers and other backcountry vehicles. It's been seven years.
Forest officials are still struggling to balance the demands of environmentalists, off-roaders and ranchers.
The battle has come to a head on one mesa in northern New Mexico where Hispanics have been ranching and collecting firewood and pinon for centuries.
A state senator and residents of Glorieta Mesa are vowing to take their case to Congress and to federal court.
This week, regional forest officials denied their appeal of the Santa Fe National Forest's travel management plan. They had complained the plan was racially biased and that an influx of off-roaders would threaten their culture and traditions.
Mexican Grey Wolf
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Environmentalists are blasting a federal government decision not to list the Mexican gray wolf as a separate subspecies under the Endangered Species Act.
The group WildEarth Guardians says Friday's decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service means efforts to help the wolf population recover will be hurt.
WildEarth Guardians petitioned to relist the Mexican wolf as a separate subspecies in 2009.
Mexican wolves are a subspecies of the gray wolf. They were first added to the endangered species list in 1976 after hunting and government-sponsored extermination campaigns nearly wiped them out.
A reintroduction effort along the New Mexico-Arizona border began in 1998 with the release of 11 wolves. The program has been hampered by everything from illegal killings to legal wrangling, and only about 60 live in the region.
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