Valles Caldera: Expanded access requires measured approach

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Preserve > Unstructured foot traffic unlikely in 2014

By Arin McKenna

The attempt by the Valles Caldera National Preserve Board of Trustees to expand access has run up against the realities of regulations and resources.
The board voted last September to grant visitors the “right to unstructured foot traffic through all areas of the preserve to allow for wandering and exploration. ... ”
At the trust’s December meeting, staff reported on some of the obstacles to implementing that plan. Stewardship Division Director Maria Rodriguez and other staff have since provided the Los Alamos Monitor with a detailed explanation.
According to Rodriguez, the preserves’ mandate is very clear.
“Laws that guide decision-making on federal land (National Environmental Policy Act, National Historic Preservation Act) require us to consider the outcomes of our actions before we make decisions or implement those actions,” Rodriguez said. “Changes in our programs also have to be reviewed under our liability insurance, etc.”

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