Clock ticks on Valles Caldera

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With a new Congress waiting in the wings, passing the Omnibus Bill this year deemed critical

By Carol A. Clark

After jumping through 24 months of bureaucratic hoops, the management at Valles Caldera National Preserve is poised to become part of the National Park System.
Management of the 89,000-acre dormant volcano field by a troubled private sector trust has had activists campaigning for its inclusion this year, to stave off possible indefinite postponement by a new Congress January 1.
Conservationists, led by a group called “Caldera Action” have pressed New Mexico’s congressional delegation to introduce legislation to abolish the VCNP Trust and transfer the Caldera to the NPS as a reserve where hunting and fishing would continue but national park standards would apply.
The bill Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., has advanced through the Senate to make the transfer lies embedded in the Omnibus Public Lands Bill of 2010. This is a bundle of individual public land bills from all over the United States. Caldera Action said it is urgent that the Omnibus bill gets time on the Senate floor for passage by Dec. 31.
Los Alamos County Council came out in support of the NPS managing the VCNP.

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