Snowshoeing in the Valles Grande. Photo by Ryan Heffernan
Jemez Springs – The Valles Caldera Trust Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to amend the fees assessed for admission to, and the use and occupancy of, the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
The proposal will replace the current system, in which fees are assessed based on an a la carte, per person basis, with a more streamlined and cost-effective entry fee system. The new entry fee, $20 per vehicle and $10 per person when entering on foot or bicycle, would be valid for seven days and cover all self-guided recreational activities, certain guided hiking and van tours, as well as the use of the backcountry shuttle.
With the establishment of the new entry fee system, the Trust will also begin to honor all annual federal lands access passes, including senior and military passes. Rates for guided activities, hunting, fishing, lodging, education programming, location rental fees, commercial activities, and special use permits would also be standardized under this proposal.
The changes are being proposed to ensure that fees are fair and equitable to all visitors, are easy to understand, and to make access to and enjoyment of the Valles Caldera more affordable for families and local residents. For example, under the current fee structure, a two-day hiking and mountain biking trip to the Valles Caldera would cost a family of four up to $80. Under the new system, that same family would have access to hiking, biking, and interpretive activities in the Valles Caldera for only $20 for seven consecutive days.
The Trust will accept public comments on the proposed fee schedule for a 60-day period ending at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 3, 2015. The new fee schedule, including any modifications made based on comments received from the public, will become effective in the spring of 2015.
The Valles Caldera Trust oversees the 88,900-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve, located in the Jemez Mountains of northern New Mexico. The Preserve was purchased by the federal government in 2000 under the Valles Caldera Preservation Act, and it 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.