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Bill Would Move Valles Caldera to Park Service

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Management of the Valles Caldera National Preserve would be transferred

 Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, both D-N.M., introduced the measure Thursday.

 According to a Government Accountability Office report, the northern New Mexico preserve is years behind schedule in developing a management control system, and a path to be financially self-sustained by 2015 will be a major challenge.

 A National Park Service study determined the Valles Caldera — in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos — meets criteria for inclusion in the National Park System.

 The bill proposes the Park Service take over management, while hunting, fishing and cattle grazing would still be permitted. The measure would strengthen protections for tribal cultural and religious sites and ensure access by pueblos.

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