Setting Priorities

By Art Wilbur, CCA President

When I took over as President of the CCA on Sunday, August 29, 2021, I had some clear priorities in mind for the CCA, and the board members have some also. So, here’s a little about what I am thinking and, at the same time, I welcome your ideas on what you see as priorities. Please send us an email at

Priorities are of course defined by need but also by urgency. So, our immediate priority is to organize our Carson Fall Festival, which takes place on October 10, 2021. Board Member Vonnie Zepeda is taking charge of the event. We look forward to seeing you at the Fall Fun Festival. 

Beyond that, my first priority is to establish a new Carson Community Center on the land owned by the CCA, to replace our Quonset hut. We’re beginning work on that right now, thinking about what we would like, and the process by which we’ll make it happen. We’ll be looking for community input very shortly.

Also important is integrating Carson’s Firewise work, and the Carson Volunteer Fire District (CVFD) into the CCA’s work. We have some issues ahead regarding the quality of our roads, S Carson Road and FR 556, and links between them, especially as they relate to access for firefighting trucks and for rapid exit of the community happening at the same time during a wildfire. We are beginning to work with Taos Public Works who clarified that S Carson Rd is not legally a county road. Acquiring county road status so that it can be improved and maintained to be usable in the event of wildfire evacuation will require CCA working strategically with our County Commissioners and others. 

Two-way emergency traffic on S Carson Road is not possible in most places.

I recently lined up representatives, including  the Taos County Public Works Director, the Taos County Fire Chief, the CVFD Chief, and the Taos County Manager, and we drove them down S Carson Rd, and some of North Road, in a fire truck to show them the importance and urgency of this project.

Upgrading FR 556 requires a different strategy. CCA is working with the Chair of the Carson Firewise Committee, Peter Allen, on FR556. I will communicate the problem to the US Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, who hails from the Laguna Pueblo. Peter and JR Logan, the Taos County Fire Department Wildland Urban Interface Coordinator, will set up a meeting with the New Mexico Head of Forestry, Laura McCarthy, and with the Carson National Forest Supervisor in Taos. Peter has also been successful in getting FR 556 added to the Forest Service’s road maintenance prioritization list. Larger issues, including tree removal, fuel breaks, road surveys, engineering and design, and construction of FR 556, remain unanswered. However, we have opened the door and we will keep pushing.

Forest Road 556 is barely passable for one vehicle. As an ingress-egress road it will require a great deal of work.

We will be working to integrate our communications channels, to keep you better informed: relaunching the Carson website as the CCA website, sending out more emails to you, increasing the quality and frequency of the Carson OPiñon, developing our communications lists, and bringing the community together for discussions on topics of importance to our well-being.

We also have to work on the functioning of the CCA. We have heard from some of you about donations to CCA going unacknowledged, and checks going uncashed. Those days are over! We welcome your donations to help us begin to make our dreams a reality. Our treasurer, Jeremy Paine, will send you an acknowledgement for your tax-deductible donation. Soon you’ll be able to donate online!

We will also be revising the bylaws. Several people commented that they were unhappy that the need for a secret ballot had recently been removed from the bylaws, and we also need to address the issue of email voting, which is not currently covered by our bylaws.

It’s the beginning of a new era for the CCA, and we thank you for your confidence in your new team through your overwhelming vote.

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