U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel is scheduled to visit the newest addition to the National Park System on Saturday.
The Valles Caldera National Preserve, a 13 mile-wide depression northwest of Santa Fe, was formed more than a million years ago by what scientists call a supervolcano. Today the landscape is a mix of forest, canyons and wide open grasslands.
On Oct. 1, Valles Caldera was acquired by the National Park Service after being managed for 15 years by a federal trust program that expired last week. It attracts an average of 100,000 visitors per year and offers opportunities to ski, mountain bike, hike and fish. Hunting and cattle grazing will continue under the park service management.
The ownership of Valles Caldera is currently under dispute by the Jemez Pueblo, a tribal nation in northern New Mexico. That case is currently pending in a federal appeals court.