Roaming: Uniquely New Mexican landscapes

Valles Caldera National Preserve. Matt Dahlseid/The New Mexican

Valles Caldera National Preserve has acquired a 40-acre parcel within its boundaries that contains volcanic features that officials say are critical to protecting geothermal features of the property near Jemez Springs.

According to a news release issued Wednesday, the National Park Service completed the purchase of the property. In 2016, it was bought by the Heritage Partnership Trust in a deal spurred by the National Parks Conservation Association. Heritage Partnership held the property while the sale to the park service was pending.

The property contains sulfuric acid hot springs, volcanic fumaroles and steaming mud pots, and it "has the potential to become a primary location to educate the public about Valles Caldera's geologic origins and status as a dormant, but not extinct, volcano," said preserve Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos. 

Public access and visitation to the site will be limited while the park service conducts formal surveys of natural and cultural resources within the parcel and restores the site from previous mining activity. 

Sulphur Springs was patented in 1898 as a mining claim. It was mined from 1902-04, then developed into a health resort spa until it burned down in the 1970s. It was held by several private owners after that, and a few residents occupied the property into the early 2000s, according to the news release.

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Tom Ribe

This is really good news for the public. This property had been in rough shape after some messy people lived there a few years ago. Now the National Park Service can clean it up and interpret it for the public. It is a fascinating place, a faint reminder of Yellowstone. Thanks to the non profit organizations that made this happen.

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