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VCNP vistas have been taken
My most disappointing trip to the Valles Caldera occurred last summer. I had just bought a panorama photography outfit and was looking for picturesque places to photograph. Naturally, my thoughts turned to the Valles Caldera preserve. As you drive down the hill from the entrance gate, there is a little knoll and an old farmhouse on the left-hand side of the road. Parking along the side of the road so as to not block traffic, I spied an overgrown gravel path to the top of the knoll that was the perfect vantage point for my panorama. Toting my kit to the top of the hill, I took my panorama pictures and then walked down to the rustic farmhouse to take some close-ups.
Returning to the top of the knoll to collect the rest of my kit, I was accosted by an elderly woman in a light blue T-shirt that indicated that she had some official position with the Valles Caldera operation. She informed me that I was forbidden to take pictures of this rustic farmhouse, as a Hollywood production company had erected it as a movie set — on public property — and to approach it or to photograph it was forbidden. It was then that I realized that the overgrown gravel path I had trod was actually a road created by the movie company for their heavy equipment to photograph from the very same vantage point that I had chosen for my panorama.
So there you have it. Hollywood types can build private roads and erect private structures on the Valles Caldera preserve but someone walking on the same gravel road and photographing the same private structure will get the bum’s rush off the property. I told the woman that I looked forward to the day when the property will revert to the Forest Service so that it finally will be open to the entire public, not just the green elites who seem to be running it today.
Dave W. Thomson