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Game and Fish makes bid for Valles Caldera

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By Arin McKenna

At the State Game Commission’s Aug. 22 meeting, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish presented a new plan for Valles Caldera National Preserve.
The proposal, developed through discussions between the department and State Game Commission Chairman Scott Bidegain, advocates for transferring the preserve to state ownership under the management of Game and Fish and takes fee-based usage to new heights.
Despite the fact that the Valles Caldera Trust has only achieved 30 percent self-sufficiency after 12 years in operation, Game and Fish professes it can “transition the current federal fiscal burden of $2- to $3 million annually to positive State revenue of $500,000 to $1 million annually due to reduced employee numbers and management costs, cooperation with other state agencies and universities, enhanced use of volunteers and partnerships with private sector via concessionaires, the wood products industry, livestock producers, outdoor recreational businesses and hunting and fishing related corporate sponsors.”
“Since when is government land supposed to turn a profit, anyway? There are a lot of values, and a lot of them are nonmonetary values,” said Caldera Action Executive Director Tom Ribe.


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