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Senators open options for Valles Caldera

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By Roger Snodgrass

New Mexico’s two U.S. Senators are exploring new options for administering the Valles Caldera National Preserve. They have also made known their recommendations for three open board positions on the governing Valles Caldera Trust.

Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, both Democrats, announced last week that they had written to the Acting Director of the Park Service, Daniel Wenk, asking that agency to “assess the potential for including the Valles Caldera National Preserve in the National Park System.”

The schedule for what is called “a reconnaissance study,” the senators suggested, would be conducted over the next few months, “to allow us to review potential management options later this year.”

A second audit of the preserve by the Government Accountability Office is scheduled for publication in the September-October time frame, which is expected to provide additional perspective on the effectiveness of the preserve’s management.

Moving the VCNP under the National Park Service is a change that has been advocated by some critics of the current system of governance, a self-governing corporation directed by an independent board of directors.


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