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The Valles Caldera National Preserve is a unique landscape with a rich geologic and natural history. It is currently managed as a for profit operation, wherein visitors pay to take advantage of a broad array of outdoor opportunities. This pay-to-play format is prohibitive to a large portion of taxpayers that have funded most of the Preserve’s operations to date. Some activities, most notably fishing and elk hunting, are profitable enough to pose the potential for steering management towards profit, potentially at the expense of ecosystem health. Research at the Preserve has also produced data indicating that global warming is having an impact on Rio Grande Cutthroat viability in the Preserve and surrounding habitat. The combination of these two threats – global warming and potential management bias towards elk and non-native brown trout – could be ruinous to the Valles Caldera.
By designating the 89,000 acre Valles Caldera National Preserve as a unit of the Park Service, management of the preserve’s resources will be improved insofar as a greater portion of the public will be able to access its fishing and hunting treasures.
Build support for management change with stakeholders such as regional tribes, livestock owners, hunters, anglers, scholars, students, and outdoor enthusiasts.
Toner Mitchell - New Mexico Public Lands Coordinator
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