WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich congratulated Jorge Silva-Bañuelos on being named superintendent of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Silva-Bañuelos's hiring marks an important milestone for Valles Caldera, which is making the transition from a unique management structure as part of the Forest Service to management by the National Park Service (NPS). Both lawmakers pushed for the change, which was enacted as part of an omnibus defense bill at the end of last year. NPS officially takes over on Oct. 1.
Silva-Bañuelos is currently serving as executive director of the Valles Caldera Trust, which has managed the day-to-day operations of the preserve.
"First of all, I want to congratulate Jorge, who has been a wonderful and conscientious steward of Valles Caldera in his current position and will help ensure a smooth transition for the public as the Park Service begins management," said Udall, who visited the preserve earlier this month to highlight the importance of Land and Water Conservation Funding for Valles Caldera and other N.M. parks and open spaces. "Hiring a superintendent and turning management over to the Park Service is a critical milestone. I'm confident that with Jorge's leadership, the Park Service will be able to preserve what keeps Valles Caldera special while making it more accessible to New Mexicans. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will keep fighting to ensure Valles Caldera gets the funding it needs to keep it financially secure."
“Jorge is an exemplary choice for this position, and I couldn’t be happier for him. His love for New Mexico and expertise in land management and conservation make him well suited to excel as the superintendent of the Valles Caldera National Preserve,” said Heinrich, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. "Jorge has done an excellent job preparing the Preserve for the transition to National Park Service management. He has worked to expand access to hunting and fishing opportunities for New Mexicans and to carefully balance expanded public access with conserving the unique cultural resources found in the Preserve."