Voting blind on Caldera

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Controversy > Resolution reveals little understanding of proposed legislation

By Arin McKenna

Third in a series

The actions of New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Director Jim Lane were not the only questionable ones at the New Mexico Game and Fish Commission’s May 23 meeting.

Statements and questions by commissioners revealed that most had little or no knowledge of current legislation regarding the Valles Caldera National Preserve or of proposed legislation that would place it under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.

In fact, the motion made by Commissioner Tom Arvas and unanimously approved reads, “I move to authorize Director Lane to oppose via letter and any other means any change in management or ownership of the Valles Caldera Preserve.”

Under the current legislation, such a motion is untenable. The trust will dissolve if it fails to achieve financial self-sufficiency by 2015. No one, including the preserve’s board of trustees, expects the trust to meet that goal, even if it is granted a possible five-year extension.

“The problem with the trust model–and I think it’s a failed model for public land here–is that it requires that self-sustaining formula, which limits access,” said VCNP board Chair Kent Salazar.

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