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WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall recently introduced legislation to transfer the management of the Valles Caldera National Preserve to the National Park Service.
The bill follows on a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) mandated by the Valles Caldera Preservation Act of 2000 and a feasibility study from the National Park Service requested by the two senators.
The GAO reports that the Preserve is at least five years behind schedule in the development of an effective management control system and that the requirement to achieve financial self-sustainability by 2015 is the Trust’s biggest challenge and will be difficult to achieve. It also notes that the revenue enhancement study commissioned by the Trust estimated the need for at least $21 million for infrastructure improvements to support greater public access.
The National Park Service study, which was requested by Bingaman and Udall, determines the Valles Caldera meets the high criteria for inclusion in the National Park System as a National Preserve. In particular, the report highlighted the nationally significant geologic resources found in the area.
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