JEMEZ SPRINGS – With one of the largest elk herds in the state, the Valles Caldera National Preserve is the hidden gem of the Jemez Mountains.
The 89,000-acre preserve encases New Mexico’s only Super Volcano, and is an elk paradise. To celebrate the upcoming elk rut and to learn about this fascinating creature, the Valles Caldera Trust will host the sixth annual Jemez Mountains Elk Festival.
This FREE festival runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sept. 25-28 and will feature a bugling challenge, educational booths, demonstrations, exhibits, vendors and discounted van tours. Free self guided hikes and discounted Magma to Magpie van tours will be offered. Parking will be limited, so please carpool.
Thursday and Friday are especially geared toward school groups and classes, with group activities, education booths, games, and a kids’ bugling contest. Home, private and Montessori schools are more than welcome.
Saturday and Sunday, amateurs face off in a daily contest to see who can sound the most like an elk. Participants may use a diaphragm, horn, or good old fashion vocal chords in this bugling showdown. Spotting scopes will be set up around the Visitors Center for visitors to see any elk that happen to be out in the Valle Grande. There will be mini-workshops where visitors can learn how to score antlers, assess elk health and call elk.
There are still plenty of booth spaces available at no charge for vendors and organizations. Volunteers are also needed for the event. Contact Kimberly DeVall at 505.428.7737 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to reserve a booth space or wish to volunteer.
For more information on available activities and programs at the Valles Caldera call 866.382.5537 or go to www.vallescaldera.gov.
The Valles Caldera Trust oversees the Valles Caldera National Preserve, formerly the privately owned “Baca Ranch.” The 88,900 acre property is located in the Jemez Mountains in northern New Mexico. It was purchased by the federal government in 2000 under the Valles Caldera National Preservation Act. The property is known for its huge meadows, abundant wildlife, meandering streams, remarkable scenery and science based adaptive management. More information about the preserve can be found at www.vallescaldera.gov.