NPS Proposes Improvements to Valle Grande Area Facilities

Valles Caldera Proposes Infrastructure
Improvements to Valle Grande District 
Jemez Springs, NM – Valles Caldera National Preserve is developing an Environmental Assessment for the construction and implementation of infrastructure improvements within the park’s front country areas necessary to enhance visitor experience, accessibility, interpretation of the park’s natural and cultural values, and recreational opportunities.

“We’re excited to make Valles Caldera more accessible and welcoming to all. These proposed infrastructure improvements are an important step in that direction,” said park superintendent, Jorge Silva-Bañuelos.

Two areas of the park currently receive the majority of visitation: 1) the Entrance Station area situated in the middle of the Valle Grande near Cerro La Jara along the main park entrance road; and 2) the Cabin District located on the north side of the Valle Grande comprising the various former ranch buildings constructed during the period of private ownership. The park is interested in making meaningful infrastructure improvements in these locations that would support improving visitor enjoyment while managing visitors to protect park resources.

The park is proposing to make the Cabin District more accessible to people with disabilities and facilitate visitors accessing this area without the need for a backcountry vehicle permit as is currently the case. The park is considering the creation of

  • two new parking areas near the cabin district,
  • improvements to buildings to make them accessible to people with disabilities,
  • the addition of new trails for public and administrative use in and around the Cabin District,
  • an automatic gate that does not require visitors to get out of their vehicle to open and close, subsurface utility installation to existing historic and non-historic buildings, and
  • trailhead kiosks at existing trails which would provide better information to visitors.
At the Entrance Station area the park is proposing to
  • modify the VC01 entrance road to reroute one-way traffic into the Entrance Station parking area,
  • redesign the existing parking lot to provide a lane that will direct inbound traffic through a new entrance booth,
  • remove the existing livestock corrals,
  • add two new electric vehicle charging stations in the parking area, and
  • make accessibility improvements to the Entrance Station building and to entry and exit gates in this area.
Many of the improvements would be constructed in a way that they could be retained, removed, relocated, or modified in accordance with future planning decisions being evaluated by the park.  These improvements would remain in place over the short-term foreseeable future as the park works on developing long-term management plans for the park. It is estimated that some of these interim improvements would be in place for 5-10 years.

View project information and submit written comments using the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) system and searching for “Valles Caldera Interim Infrastructure Improvements Project (106210).” Comments may also be submitted by mail (Valles Caldera National Preserve, Attn: Environmental Protection Specialist, P.O. Box 359, Jemez Springs, NM 87025) or fax (575-829-4141).

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