Daylight shines through where the spring runoff washed out a culvert. Nathan Plants/NPS
A section of the main route through the center of the preserve has been marked as unsafe to travel across. Photo by Nathan Plants/NPS
JEMEZ SPRINGS — Due to seasonal staff hiring delays and road damage from spring runoff, Valles Caldera National Preserve will delay the start of its extended summer hours and will offer a reduced vehicle route.
A backlog in government background clearances has delayed the arrival of seasonal National Park Service staff needed to operate the extended hours during the summer season.
Until seasonal staff arrive, the preserve will remain under winter hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additionally, spring runoff washed out a culvert on the main road through the center of the preserve making it impassable by vehicle.
“Valles Caldera had a great winter, but the spring snow melt has unfortunately impacted the condition of our roads,” Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos said. “We have received emergency funding from the National Park Service to repair the road and appreciate the public’s patience as we complete the repairs.”
Until the road is repaired, the preserve will continue to issue 35 vehicle permits per day for a reduced driving route along the north end of the Valle Grande through the preserve’s cabin district and old growth forest.
Parking is available at a nearby horse barn from which visitors can begin a backcountry hiking, biking, or equestrian riding experience. Anglers can fish the upper Jaramillo Creek and the East Fork Jemez River.
The preserve will post updates about the start of extended summer hours and backcountry route opening on its website, www.nps.gov/vall, on Twitter @VallesCaldera, and on Facebook www.facebook.com/VallesCaldera/.
For more information or to join the Volunteers-In-Parks program, contact Valles Caldera National Preserve at 575.829.4100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.