Caldera to lose executive director

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By Roger Snodgrass

Jeffrey Cross will be leaving his position as executive director of the Valles Caldera Trust June 21.

The trust chair Bill Kelleher announced Monday that Cross was accepting a position at the National Park Service as chief of the Ocean and Coastal Resources office.

Cross is the third executive director in six years at the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

The press release said the Park Service recruited Cross. He has a Ph.D. in marine fisheries and 20 years of experience working in the field, before taking a position at the Grand Canyon National Park.

Cross listed as his achievements in the last two years the new van tours that take place five days a week, spring turkey hunts and the soon-to-be-opened trout fishing on the East Fork of the Jemez River.

Kelleher said in the announcement that the board of trustees will designate an acting executive director soon and begin a search for a permanent replacement.

The change takes place a couple of months after President Bush’s budget to Congress zeroed out funding for the Valles Caldera National Preserve in the FY 2009 budget.

A call to the trust’s offices was not answered this morning.

Stakeholders expressed positive feelings for the departing manager.

“From our perspective, we were very happy with Jeff because of his National Park Service experience and long commitment to public lands, and we would hope they would find somebody to replace him with a similar background,” said Tom Ribe, President of the Board of Caldera Action.

Doug Fraser, chair of Los Amigos de Valles Caldera, a 200-member support organization, said he was surprised by the news.

“We enjoyed working with him. We got along well,” Fraser said. “We wish him well.