Portions of Valles Caldera reopen today

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By The Staff

The Valles Caldera National Preserve resumed fishing and other selected recreation activities Friday. Recreational programs and activities were suspended during the Thompson Ridge Fire, which burned 22,927 acres of the preserve. Public access was limited to the Valle Grande staging area until preserve officials determined certain areas were safe for visitors.
“So far the fisheries have not been impacted the way they were after the Las Conchas Fire,” noted Executive Director, Dennis Trujillo, “and we don’t anticipate they will be. We will also resume the daily Magma to Magpie van tours and the free hikes outside the burn area.”
Trujillo emphasizes that only a few of the recreational activities were impacted by the fire. Those activities that were to take place in the burn area will reopen once mitigation of unsafe conditions and rehabilitation of the landscape is complete.
That process began with the Thompson Ridge Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) assessment of the landscape and will continue with the implementation of an approved work plan during the coming weeks.
For more information on available activities and programs at the Valles Caldera call 866-382-5537 or go to vallescaldera.gov.
Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott, meanwhile, announced that, in concert with the re-opening of other public lands in the area, the restrictions at the park due to high fire danger will be lowered to Level I this weekend. As of 8 a.m. Friday, campfires will be permitted in the fire grills in Juniper Campground. The campground and all the park trails have been open all along, including overnight backpacking in the Bandelier Wilderness.
Backpackers will still not be able to camp in canyon bottoms, due to flood danger during the monsoon season, but are permitted to camp on the mesa tops.
“We want people to know that there are lots of opportunities to hike and camp at Bandelier,” Lott said. “We’ve been open all along, and now campers can again roast hot dogs or make s’mores in the fire grills in Juniper Campground. Enjoy your stay, and like always, remember to be careful.”
Tonight and other Fridays through July and August, there will be Night walks. These are silent ranger-led walks in the dark among the dwellings in Frijoles Canyon, with poetry and storytelling. Reservations are required: call the Visitor Center at 672-3861 ext. 517. Saturday evening there will be a ranger talk, “Wild About Bandelier” in the Juniper Campground amphitheater at 8:30; non-campers and campers are all welcome.