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

Friday, August 14, 2009

Website Launch: Valles Caldera Trust Public Access and Use Planning

View into Valles Caldera National Preserve from Pajarito Mountain Ski Area

The notice below was emailed to me yesterday, August 13, 2009, via the Valles Caldera National Preserve's (VCNP) email lists that anyone can sign up for. The two public meetings will be on Monday, September 14, in Albuquerque, NM, 5:30-8:00pm, at the Hilton Garden Inn on 5320 San Antonio Dr. NE and Tuesday, September 15 in Santa Fe, NM, 5:30-8:oopm., Santa Fe Community College, 6401 S. Richards Ave.. For directions, either contact the Preserve or try any of the free online map services.

In the email notice below, the Trust makes it clear that you can comment in many ways - at the two public workshops, on the Preserve's NEPA Master Page, via snail mail or email. Please explore the links in the email below to decide which way you would like to comment.

The Trust says there is a way to download all the documents at once but I have not been able to find it. I ended up individually downloading a total of 25 files, including commenting guidelines, a glossary, movies, maps, an overview summary of the five alternatives and detailed explanation of each alternative. This seems excessive to expect the public to do this in order to become informed about the future direction of public access and use of the Preserve.

Regardless - this process is important to participate in because this is the official beginning of the National Environmental Policy Act process for the Trust's planning for public access and use of the Preserve. The comments you give now in this scoping process will determine what alternatives will be seriously considered in the official NEPA Environmental Impact Statement that will surely affect and alter the future of the Preserve and your access to it. In otherwords, the Environmental Impact Statement that the Trust will prepare is not created in a vacuum and your comments have huge potential to influence the future of your access to the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

If you don't comment, your voice regarding the various alternatives won't be heard. Hint - if you like horses a whole lot, you'll like two of the Alternatives, C and D, that provide for a focus on equestrian activities, including a developed equestrian center. (I wonder if they did a market study to determine how many equine enthusiasts there are in the surrounding areas before they devised this alternative? Perhaps there are a lot and this would be popular.) This is just one example of something you may want to provide your input on. There are others like Alternative D that includes "luxury lodging, restaurants, a bar, snack bars, a conference center, and an RV Park". The clever strategy used by the VCNP is that the maps of the various alternatives are filled with symbols denoting the location and type of the various developments planned. No narrative is provided on the map. You need to read the separate narrative to fully understand the full scope of development of each alternative.

Unless you take the trouble to become part of this process at some level, your voice WILL NOT BE HEARD:


Valles Caldera Trust
Public Access and Use Planning

Website Launch August 13, 2009

Dear Friends,

We are very excited to announce the Public Access and Use website launch and two upcoming public workshops (PDF download from official Valles Caldera National Preserve website)to support collaborative planning and decision making on the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

Planning for public access and use of the Preserve will be the first effort to engage stakeholders in an online collaboration. Be aware - this planning effort considers developing permanent facilities and infrastructure as well as access to and through the Preserve. It is an extremely important planning effort and quite complex. Reviewing the available information and providing substantive comment may require an hour or more.

This phase of our planning is considering alternative levels of development. Elements being considered include: Access, Capacity, Activities, Development, Financing, and Values. The website uses detailed narratives, maps, and videos to provide you with an understanding of these elements and the alternative levels of development for each.

After you review the narratives and maps, open the element tables. These pages present a graphical summary of each element as a reference for providing your comments and feedback. You will also be able to view and reply to the comments of others in our collaborative forum (you must register under the "Register" page before entering your comments in the forum).

This online collaboration is being supported by two public workshops (PDF download from official Valles Caldera National Preserve website). Your online and in person contributions will be used to formulate a range of alternatives for the development of infrastructure, facilities, and programs for public access and use of the Preserve.

If navigating websites or attending a workshop is not your thing - not to worry! You may download all the information as a single document and send your comments by email: comments@vallescaldera.gov, or surface mail: Valles Caldera Trust, P.O. Box 359, Jemez Springs, NM 87025.



Marie E. Rodriguez
Natural Resource Coordinator
Valles Caldera Trust
"An Experiment in Public Land Management"



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Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States