This blog is about hiking trips along the Valles Caldera Rim. For more information, see link for the Valles Caldera Rim Trail blog.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Valles Caldera National Preserve Volunteer Training on Saturday, May 2!

This email below from Kimberly DeVall, Supervisory Recreation Specialist at the Valles Caldera National Preserve, announces Volunteer Training Workshops for volunteer opportunities at the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The first workshop took place last Saturday, April 25, 2009 and the next one is upcoming this Saturday, May 2. The workshops are held at the Valles Caldera Trust Headquarters in Jemez Springs:

2009 Volunteer Workshops Announced!

The Valles Caldera Trust would like to thank you for your interest in volunteering on the Valles Caldera National Preserve. In an effort to improve our volunteer program and coordination, we are offering volunteer orientation workshops. These workshops are designed to give you a brief overview of the Preserve, Trust policies and guidelines, safety, and volunteer opportunities. To become a volunteer on the Preserve, you will be required to attend one of these workshops each year.

We currently have two workshops available, with more to come based on interest. The workshops are scheduled for Saturday, April 25, 2009, and Saturday, May 2, 2009. Both workshops will be held at the Trust offices in Jemez Springs, NM, from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Lunch is on your own so bring a lunch or enjoy one of the restaurants in Jemez Springs. Remember, to become a Preserve volunteer, you only need to attend one workshop. Previous volunteers are also required to attend. Each workshop will be limited to 70 participants and reservations are required. Please fill out the reservation form and return it by email or my mail at Valles Caldera Trust, P.O. Box 359, Jemez Springs, NM 87025.

We look forward to seeing you at the Preserve!

Kimberly DeVall
Supervisory Recreation Specialist

The reservation form gives a list of volunteer opportunities available on the Preserve. They include:

  • Van Tour Guides (a 45‐minute brief overview and history of the Preserve)
  • Highway 4 Pullout (a roving guide who helps bring visitors from the highway)
  • Van Drivers (transports hikers to trailheads and anglers to San Antonio)
  • Banco Bonito (roving guides/support for equestrian and mountain bike trails)
  • Special Events (such as Run the Caldera, Cruise the Caldera, Star Gazing, etc.)
  • Visitor Center and Gift Shop (assist staff in providing information to visitors)
  • Guest Services (assist with facility rentals, group tour requests, etc.)
  • Ranching (fence work, monitoring, etc.)
  • Hunting (assist with hunter check in/out)
  • Science (assist with monitoring, collections, restoration, etc.)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Valles Caldera Trust Short Three Members

According to the Valles Caldera Preservation Act of 2000, the Valles Caldera Trust (VCT) that manages the Valles Caldera National Preserve (VCNP) is supposed to have nine members.

Two of the VCT members are ex officio - the Superintendent of Bandelier National Monument and the Supervisor of the Santa Fe National Forest. They are fully voting members and are on the Trust by virtue of their position in the agencies which are neighbors to the VCNP.

The other seven of the members, who hold expertise in specific areas, are to be appointed by the President in consultation with the New Mexico congressional delegation. As of right now, only four of these seven presidential appointees are on the Trust. Those four were all appointed by former President Bush.

There are currently three vacancies in the areas of Forestry, Cultural and Natural History and Nonprofit Conservation Organization.

I am hoping that President Barack Obama, in consultation with New Mexico's congressional delegation, will soon appoint the remaining three members to the Valles Caldera Trust (VCT) to fill these vacancies. It seems obvious to me that the Valles Caldera Trust can more effectively do its job if it has the full complement of members on board.

If you feel this is important, please contact your United States senators and representatives to ask that this be done soon. If you are unsure who your Representative or Senator is, you can look up their names on these websites:

U.S. Senate/ Senators Home

Write Your Representative - Contact your Congressperson in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Valles Caldera National Preserve Volunteer Training

Today I drove up into the Jemez Mountains to the Valles Caldera Trust (VCT) Headquarters, across from the Jemez State Monument. The Valles Caldera Trust rents office space, near Jemez Springs, from the Servants of the Paraclete. I attended a first ever Volunteer Training workshop for the Valles Caldera National Preserve (VCNP).

The drive up was beautiful - going through astounding country. Up until past Battleship Rock, you're actually driving within the Valles Caldera on NM4. This website,, illustrates well that a great deal of the Valles Caldera can be enjoyed without ever setting foot on the Valles Caldera National Preserve (VCNP) and can actually be accessed from within the Santa Fe National Forest.

As I turned into the parking lot at VCT Headquarters, I could see colorfully picturesque Cat Mesa, down San Diego Canyon, towering over the Jemez Valley. It's a different world in Jemez Springs - tall mesas with indescribably colorful rocks and the willow and cottonwood lined Jemez River making a mockery of the phrase "the arid Southwest".

The Valles Caldera National Preserve, as of last July, hired a new Supervisory Recreation Specialist, Kimberly DeVall. Kimberly said that she is number five in as many years to hold this position. Before coming to the Preserve, she worked the last four and a half years on the other side of the fence, for the Santa Fe National Forest. She seems earnest and enthused and really wants to do right by the volunteers. A majority of attendees expressed a feeling that volunteers hadn't been appreciated in the past and were even ignored. I can attest that before Kimberly came on board, my inquiries about volunteer positions went unanswered. I've heard the same tale from others. I honestly think that Kimberly will change all that. For more information on Kimberly, read the Fall 2008 La Ventana en los Valles, Welcome to New Staff article, (page 2), which can be downloaded here as a pdf file.

Kimberly said that they had had snow the past two weekends and how lovely the weather was today. It truly was a sparkling day in the Jemez Mountains. No one else from Preserve Administration or Management or the VCT attended the meeting. Meeting facilitators included Kimberly's recreation assistants, Emily Blumenthal and Joyce McHugh and interpretative assistant, Stacy Urich. Rob Dixon, Preserve Outdoor Research Planner, had planned to attend but took ill.

People came from Santa Fe, Pojoaque, EspaƱola, Los Alamos, Vallecitos de los Indios, the Jemez Valley, Rio Rancho and Albuquerque.

The meeting started out pretty lively and Kimberly was really a good sport and very patient with us. One man asked why the locked gate into the Valle Grande Staging Area and why not allow year around admission. A woman who volunteers with the equestrian program at Banco Bonito made a compelling case for equestrian volunteers having been unappreciated in the past. Overall, the audience and Kimberly agreed that in the past, many volunteers have been lost because of deplorable lack of communication. Kimberly suggested ways to remedy that such as setting up a page on the official VCNP website to communicate with volunteers. She's even considering Twitter!

Volunteers will need to attend one of these orientation sessions each year. Those who attended this year can take a refresher course next year that will focus on some continuing education aspect of volunteerism at the Preserve.

To get on the email list to be notified of upcoming volunteer workshops, please contact Kimberly. To contact Kimberly DeVall to let her know of your interest in volunteering for the VCNP, please use this Employee Directory which gives her email address. Kimberly feels that volunteers are important and says she plans to treat us that way.

Also, the VCNP website has a helpful new feature this year whereby you can sign up for a mailing list, specifying your interests. To do this, go to the VCNP home page and click on Mailing Lists in the upper left hand corner.

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Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States