Mescalero sawmill closes, leaving 70 unemployed

Alamogordo, New Mexico (AP) 10-07

A sawmill, which has been a notable feature on the city’s skyline since it opened in 1899, is closed.

The shutdown of the sawmill during October has left about 70 employees without jobs.

White Sands Forest MFP, or Mescalero Forest Products, took over the Alamogordo mill in April 2001.

The manager of the mill, Jimmy Bridge, could not be reached for comment.

Charles Lybarger, who still works at the sawmill as a security officer, said a skeleton crew of about six people remains.

It’s not clear what the ultimate fate of the mill will be.

“That’s impossible to say at this time,” Lybarger said. “The election for the Mescalero Apache Tribe is coming up soon. Until that time, no one knows what the tribe is going to do with it. But I don’t think you’re ever going to see it operating as a sawmill again.”

For now, the rusted cone-shaped burner remains a familiar landmark for those who pass through this southern New Mexico town.