WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 24, 2015) - Today, during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on the U.S. Department of the Interior's fiscal year 2016 budget request, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) advocated for the continuation of forest restoration projects at the Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico to help reduce the risk of catastrophic fire.
Senator Heinrich joined Senator Tom Udall in championing legislation that was signed into law last year to transfer the management of the Valles Caldera National Preserve from the current Board of Trustees to the National Park Service to increase public access. The proposal was developed after extensive input from local residents, sportsmen, veterans organizations, business owners, and elected officials.
"The Preserve has been a key partner in a Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project in the Jemez Mountains to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire," said Sen. Heinrich to the hearing witness U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. "As management transitions ... I want to ask if the Park Service can continue to work with the Preserve's existing partners, including neighboring tribes, to finish this important forest health project."
During the hearing, Senator Heinrich also discussed the need to address the maintenance backlog facing America's national parks by ensuring the agencies that manage our public lands receive adequate funding for effective stewardship.