Can't offer much advice. I've been to north east NM a couple of times, but didn't look carefully at the trees. Recall a fair number of cottonwoods near river courses. That wood has rather long fibers, and is quite soft. Its OK for carving, but I have doubts about is worth for stickmaking. I recall a lot of pines in the mountains. Pine can be strong, but again, the fibers are long, making clean cuts more difficult, and there are often resin pockets and resinous knots that aren't desirable. Have vague recollections of white barked trees, aspen I suppose, or birch. I've seen some nice work in aspen, and birch should be good for sticks.
As to elm, most of the American Elm where I live died off decades ago from Dutch Elm Disease. Supposedly it was quite good for furniture. There's some slippery elm around here. From what I understand, its never been used much. Also lots of imported Chinese elm. Being a very fast growing tree, with a tendency to bleed sap, I doubt it is worth trying.
I've seen a few nice handles made from mesquite, which I suppose grows in NM. The wood is very hard, from what I've read, but finishes nicely.
I know sometimes I'll find a piece of wood and if it's unique enough for me to want to pick it up, cut and keep it will probably make a good walking stick. I'm not a carver and if your thinking of doing that then there are far better people here that can guide.
When looking for suitable wood if it's on the ground I check the end of the piece. If it's been sawed off I usually think forestry has been pruning healthy overgrown foliage ( that's good). If though it has a jagged look (end) to it and has come down on its own or from the wind I'll avoid it and assume it's rotten wood. I have grabbed wood from the forest floor not knowing but I'll give it a bend and it snaps quickly.
As gdenby mentioned if it's not pitchy or have resin oozing from it and the elm looks to be suitable size and thickness who's to say it won't make a good walking stick? Grab some, experiment, make a stick, post a thread and let us know how it goes? Next person who asks about down the road will have some information to pass along. Cheers.
Thank you gdenby.I'm not sure what kind of elm I just call them piss elm. I just had one that I trimmed last year thought I might try it maybe I'll just practice with it.and Thank you again for all your info
Tm, I have never used elm for a stick but as Sean says give it a whirl. If it doesn't work out only thing lost is some time. Over the few years I have been making sticks I have created quite a bit of "designer firewood".
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