Easier and more affordable access is coming to the Valles Caldera National Preserve in the Jemez Mountains.
And that means more people will be able to enjoy the 89,0000-acre preserve that features stunning mountain peaks, meandering streams, soaring views, vast plains and opportunities to fish, hike and photograph – and when in-season hunt wildlife – on the former Baca Ranch the U.S. government purchased in 2000.
Come October, management of the preserve will pass to the National Park Service. To date it has been managed by a trust, with access limited and expensive.
The new rules and fees were developed in collaboration with the Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service and tribal and pueblo partners.
Under the new format approved by the Valles Caldera Trust Board of Trustees, the entrance fee will be $20 per vehicle and $10 per person for hikers or bicyclists – valid for seven days for all self-guided recreational activities including hiking, fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding. Special events, guided hikes, van tours and the use of the headquarters shuttle will also be free with entry.
The Valles Caldera opens Friday. It is a treasure, and care must be taken to preserve its integrity and beauty. But at the same time, the people who own it – U.S. citizens – should get to enjoy it to the extent possible as long as they do so respectfully. This plan looks like a winner from all viewpoints.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.