Every national park or preserve must have a management blueprint for its staff to follow. Managers at the Valles Caldera National Preserve are at last creating the “General Management Plan” for the Valles Caldera.
Time for a General Management Plan for the Valles Caldera.
While this may sound bureaucratic, the plan will be important to how our experience of the Valles Caldera unfolds over the decades to come. Where will the trails be? Where will a visitor center be built? What roads will be open and where? Will a new road snake into the Preserve from Highway 4? How will fishing, hunting, and camping be managed? Will there be a new campground for hikers and car campers? Where? Where can we ride bicycles and horses?
A General Management Plan guides generations of Park Service managers. It can be revised and amended but it lays out the general plan for the park. We are able to add input and steer the plan with our ideas for this new park.
Caldera Action has identified a few issues that you might consider in your comments:
- When funding is available, the Park Service wants to build a new visitor center. Three locations are in play, including the spot where the Missing Cabin stands, the Cabin District, over near South Mountain, or a location close to Highway 4. We support the location near the highway as it would serve the most people, would require minimal snow removal, would protect wildlife, and could be a regional visitor center for people visiting the Jemez. What do you think?
- The Park Service is considering paving the existing entrance road or building a new road that would hew close to South Mountain toward the cabins. What do you think?
- The proposed trail system looks good, but we noticed some missing trails. No mention is made of a Rim Trail that Congress instructed the NPS to study by 2017. It could be planned even if it is built later.
- Two trails that reach the boundary of the Caldera from the Los Alamos side could meet new trails inside the Preserve. A trail that comes from the Camp May campground could continue across the boundary into the Preserve. Also, the trail that goes from the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, through Canada Bonito could meet a new trail into the Valles de los Pozas. What do you think?
- The draft GMP makes no mention of livestock grazing even though a small legal cattle grazing program happens. Will it continue? Where? The Preserve has a big problem with trespass cattle yet no ongoing plans for this issue show up in the GMP.
- The plan makes no mention of hunting even though hunters enjoy special privileges like camping that the public cannot enjoy.
What concerns do you have? Do you support designating wilderness on the north side of the Preserve? This is a key time to share your ideas since staff from the NPS Regional Office is here to help put your ideas in the mix.
To read the plan for yourself or read a good story-map go to this link: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/b92f9517c33548f1b8cfbd1b86c42ef9
Please make your thoughts and comments known at this link: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=552&projectID=112511&documentID=128878