NPS NEWS RELEASE
The National Park Service is initiating a wilderness eligibility assessment of lands within Valles Caldera National Preserve. Members of the public are invited to inform this assessment by sending information about the wilderness character of the park’s lands to the National Park Service at VALL_Compliance@nps.gov or via mail at P.O. Box 359, Jemez Springs, NM 87025.
Pursuant to the Wilderness Act of 1964, wilderness is an area of undeveloped federal land where the earth and its community of life retain primeval character and influence, that is generally affected by the forces of nature and is without permanent improvements or human habitation. These areas also provide outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined types of recreation. The principal mandate of the Wilderness Act is the preservation of wilderness character, which is a holistic concept based on the interaction of biophysical environments, personal experiences, and symbolic meanings that distinguishes wilderness from other lands. The qualities of wilderness character are defined online at https://www.nps.gov/subjects/wilderness/wilderness-character.htm.
National Park Service policy requires an assessment of which lands within the park may be eligible for designation as wilderness. This assessment will be further announced in the Federal Register, and after the director of the National Park Service approves the final eligibility determination, the NPS will publish another Federal Register notice.
Designated as a unit of the national park system in 2014, the 88,900-acre park is located in the Jemez Mountains in north-central New Mexico. Valles Caldera’s name comes from the large distinctive grassland meadows, or valles in Spanish, surrounded by forest-covered volcanic domes within the ancient caldera.