The name won’t change, but some very significant things could now that the 88,900-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve is transitioning from a trust under the auspices of the National Forest Service to a National Park Service property. The park became the 18th national park preserve on Friday as part of a public lands bill passed with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“The board is very pleased with the passage of the bill that will safeguard the Valles Caldera as a national park preserve, keeping intact such programs as grazing, hunting, allowing increased access to the public while still preserving it and all the tribal sacred sites and the ability to work with tribes,” said Kent Salazar, chair of the Valles Caldera Trust Board.
“So we’re very pleased that it’s transitioned to a permanent preservation of this area, which is a magnificent gem of national land. We’re also committed to making a vey seamless transition with the park service.”
The preserve status means several significant things will not change.
The legislation, first introduced by then-Sen. Jeff Bingaman and now sponsored by Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich (all D-N.M.), requires that hunting, fishing and grazing continue, along with recreational access.