Valles increases access

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Preserve > Bandelier’s Jason Lott introduces three surprise motions

By Arin McKenna

A meeting of the Valles Caldera National Preserve Board of Trustees ended with a bang on Wednesday when Bandelier National Monument Superintendent Jason Lott introduced three motions to provide greater access to the public. All three motions passed unanimously.
The first motion caused the greatest stir and will require considerable work by preserve staff to implement it.
That motion will grant visitors the “right to unstructured foot traffic through all areas of the preserve to allow for wandering and exploration, and that this be optimally facilitated by the Valles Caldera staff.”
The motion authorizes an access fee of no more than $10 per day per person, and also allows for lawful closures of sensitive areas, to be managed by staff with the approval of the chair and notification of the entire board.
“The feeling of the board is that having more public access is something we’re very committed to, and that we’d like to see happen on the preserve and in a much more robust way,” said Vice Chair Karyn Stockdale.
The motion sparked considerable discussion among the board and members of the public, especially Lott’s proposal that the motion go into effect immediately.

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