Valles Caldera transition to National Park Service celebrated

This sprawling parcel of land in northern New Mexico that’s home to vast grasslands and one of North America’s few super volcanoes became part of the National Park Service this past weekend.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, members of the state’s congressional delegation, tribal leaders and others gathered at Valles Caldera National Preserve for a celebration to mark the transition.

“This spectacular area tells a story of New Mexico’s rich natural and cultural heritage,” Jewell said. “We are honored to serve as stewards of this land to ensure that it remains cared for and shared with future generations.”

The nearly 89,000-acre preserve is located in the Jemez Mountains, just west of Los Alamos. It protects a nearly 14-mile wide caldera – the collapsed remains of an ancient volcano – known for its scenic beauty and wildlife, and as a place for recreation.

The landscape includes subalpine forests, grasslands, geologic formations, streams and hot springs. It is one of just three supervolcanos located in the United States, and the area is considered sacred land by local tribes.

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