Want to celebrate the holidays with light? State land office offers sand gathering permits

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Luminarias light the path, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, as people walk through Berg Park during last year's Riverglo event.

AZTEC — People wanting to set up luminarias, or farolitos, can purchase $5 permits from the New Mexico State Land Office to collect up to 20 gallons of sand per permit from a gathering site off of County Road 5500 south of Bloomfield.

According to a press release from the State Land Office, the 20 gallons of sand is enough to fill approximately 100 farolito bags. The area south of Bloomfield is one of seven sites in the state that the office has made available for sand gathering.

Permit applications and payments are due by Dec. 16 and the permits are valid through Dec. 25.

In addition, the State Land Office is selling Christmas tree cutting permits for $10, which allow people to collect one tree no taller than 15 feet per permit from an area east of Black Lake and south of Angel Fire.

"As we move into this holiday season, we are pleased to offer low-cost permits to help individuals and families honor two of New Mexico’s long-held holiday traditions," Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard said in the press release. "My family has applied for our Christmas tree permit, and we look forward to adventuring out to the beautiful state trust land near Black Lake to cut our tree. The added benefit of getting your tree or sand from state trust land is that the nominal permit fee goes directly back into the community by supporting New Mexico public schools."

The permits are not intended for commercial use and people who receive permits must bring their own equipment to cut down the tree or gather sand.

Permits, maps and directions can be found at www.nmstatelands.org.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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