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The Española Chamber of Commerce has voted to back S 285, a bill introduced by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall that would transfer management of Valles Caldera National Preserve to the National Park Service.
The chamber vote on Dec. 10 comes on the heels of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation taking similar action to back the bill earlier this month.
Española Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Atencio said chamber board members had several reasons for supporting the Valles Caldera legislation. “The Chamber Board voted unanimously in favor of supporting the bill because it’s not only a good idea for the future of the Valles Caldera, but it will also bring additional revenue and jobs to the area.”
The senators’ bill calls for new management because the current management system has not made the Preserve financially self-sufficient, as required by Congress, yet has limited access to the area for hunters, anglers, hikers and others by charging exorbitant fees.
Scott Randall, Executive Director of the Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation, said that “ The Valles Caldera is a national treasure and that any opportunity to increase public access to the site will lead to expanded tourism activities throughout the region. Furthermore, transferring management of the Preserve to the National Park Service offers inherent management efficiencies; bringing a level of experience in public land management to the property; that will prove to be an asset to the Valles Caldera and its surrounding communities.”