The National Park Service report commissioned last June by Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall (D-NM) to assess the feasibility of the NPS assuming management of the Valles Caldera as a National Park Service Preserve was submitted to New Mexico’s U.S. Senators on Dec. 29.
VallesCaldera.com is the first outlet to release this report to the public. To read the National Park Service report (PDF), click here. To read the report’s letter of transmittal from National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis (PDF), click here.
The main points contained in the report are:
- “The findings of this update report indicate that the feasibility of the Valles Caldera for inclusion in the national park system has been enhanced since 1979. The national significance and suitability of the site for inclusion in the system is confirmed” (p. 3).
- “Current uses within the Preserve are generally compatible with those in other preserves or parks in the national park system, and there is untapped potential for enhancing public enjoyment” (p. 29).
- “[T]here is significant public interest and support for transferring management of the Valles Caldera National Preserve to the National Park Service” (p. 26-27).
- “Many of the scheduled activities [currently on the Preserve] occur only once a week making it inconvenient for many. The limited level of public access is reflected in the recorded visitation rates, which are low for such an area of this size and significance” (p. 15).
- National Park Service management would likely enhance visitation and provide an economic boost to the local economy: “The national information system and audience for sites within the national park system would likely contribute to visitation to the Preserve that is higher under NPS management than under the current structure. Overall, increases in regional and national public use of the area are anticipated to result in increased retail sales for recreation and convenience goods locally, as well as an increased volume of recreational, tourist, and other services. Increased expenditures for expanded operation and maintenance activities will generate purchases of goods and services in the local economy. Increased circulation of money in nearby communities could effectively stimulate growth in the area, benefitting the socioeconomic environment. Small scale tour operators in the surrounding area could benefit more under NPS management, due to a more open access policy typical of NPS sites. Under the Trust’s management, cost recovery through fee based recreational activities is likely to continue, precluding this competing business opportunity for area operators” (p. 28).
- Overall federal expenditures could decrease, and efficiency could increase, by consolidating Preserve resources with those of Bandelier National Monument: “The need for new management offices and associated infrastructure for the Preserve would be reduced or even eliminated if management of the Valles Caldera is accomplished largely out of facilities already present at Bandelier National Monument. A single management entity for Valles Caldera and Bandelier would enhance communication and integration of management programs that require a regional approach such as fire management, law enforcement, and emergency response, and would facilitate comprehensive management of resource issues that affect both the Preserve and Bandelier National Monument” (p. 28).