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Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby Bubba Suess » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:07 am

Wastral, let me take your shovel from you so you can stop where you are. I think that you and I would agree on more than you realize, but your knee-jerk response does yourself and your positions a disservice. Coherent argumentation goes a lot further than invective. So far, you have offered half a dozen emotionally charged reasons why there should be no national park in New Mexico. Having little to no knowledge of the area, you labeled the project absurd, yet your reasons for labeling so have shifted dramatically. If you have something constructive to offer, pro or con, I welcome your participation. Thus far, you have singlehandedly drifted this thread to ANWR. Nicely done.

Moving back to the thread topic:

Wastral wrote:This is where I think you are wrong. You are trying to shoe horn economics into the discussion. Economics should have NO bearing on if one should create a National Park. Economics are ALREADY in use in this area as part of cattle ranching and forestry products, all of which the users already pay for. You eliminate these people and you create a GIANT hole in your economic plan. How do you replace these peoples income?


I think this is where your ignorance of the area really shows through. Most of the land that would the center of a Jemez National Park is currently part of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The administration of this block of land was an experimental land management trust, which, as Surgent pointed out and is widely acknowledged in NM has been a failure. The only commercial operation currently ongoing in the preserve is a small cattle ranch. I reckon this would continue in the park as part of the "living history" component, much like Philmont still operates a ranch. There is no forestry going on in the Preserve. Beyond that, much of the land I am suggesting be added to the park is already run by the NPS (Bandelier) or the BLM (Tent Rocks and White Canyon, neither of which have commercial resource potential). The rest is all part of Santa Fe National Forest and has almost no commercial potential, both because it is already managed for recreation (Jemez Falls area) or because of fires. On the otherhand, visitation to the park would be a huge boon to Los Alamos and the small villages on the west side, not to mention the Reservations, who I am sure would welcome the increased tourist dollars. Furthermore, I did not "shoehorn" the economics into the discussion. There was a natural progression made in an offhand comment. Economics has had little to do with my suggestion thus far.
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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby lcarreau » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:25 am

Bubba Suess wrote:"Wastral, let me take your shovel from you so you can stop where you are ..."

Moving back to the thread topic:



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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby Wastral » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:39 am

Yea well according to your logic, we should have a new National Park in New Mexico because... um well, uh, "Its there".

Rolling hills lightly forested do not a National Park make.

I posted it was absurd because as I posted previously which you conveniently forgot, all of the pictures you posted are not unique in any matter shape or form. They could have been taken anywhere in the Western United States along any western USA road.... Nothing Unique and therefore not worthy of status as National Park. According to your logic you may as well put said park of rolling hills in the Blue mountains of Washington, or Eastern Oregon.

I do believe you need to travel a bit more and see what truly is unique. I suggest traveling OUTSIDE the states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. Pick any other Western state and the scenery is vastly superior in all regards. Yes, even Nevada.

PS> My cousins live in the arm pit of NM, Albuquerque. He flies Hot air balloons for a living and travels all over the state doing so. We visited them every spring for the past 12 years and visited large portions of the area. How the $(#Q)(! else do you think I had been to Carlsbad Caverns? Do try to keep the shovel out of your own mouth... Not to mention you conveniently forgot what I typed in my previous post explaining I spent a week in NM backpacking during spring break way back when down in SE NM, so yea, I think I can safely say with a very hig degree of certainty that putting a National Park in New Mexico based on your pictures presented is.... ABSURD.
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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby Bubba Suess » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:08 am

I tried to help (hands shovel back to Wastrel). I do think one point needs to be corrected however:

Wastral wrote:I do believe you need to travel a bit more and see what truly is unique. I suggest traveling OUTSIDE the states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. Pick any other Western state
and the scenery is vastly superior in all regards. Yes, even Nevada.


Note the profile. I live here.
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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby lcarreau » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:21 am

Wastral wrote:
I do believe you need to travel a bit more and see what truly is unique. I suggest traveling OUTSIDE the states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. Pick any other Western state and the scenery is vastly superior in all regards. Yes, even Nevada ...


ONCE AGAIN ... Arizona gets SLAMMED into the dust. HEY, at least we have some MIGHTY AWESOME HABOOBS 'round here ...

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Show us your haboobs ... Y - E - A - H :!:
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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby Bubba Suess » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:20 pm

jdzaharia wrote:Another thing that I don't quite understand is National Parks on Indian Reservation land. There are some examples of that within the current Park system, and Bubba's proposal includes a portion of the Santa Clara Indian Reservation. I'm not sure if that area is already part of the Valles Caldera National Preserve, or not.


I debated about that upper corner of the caldera. It is a part of the reservation, which could be a roadblock to its inclusion. Still, as has happened in Arizona and South Dakota, reservation land has been included in parks and has been a boon to the tribes, as least as far as tourist dollars goes. I am not sure if there is any sort of anti-NP undercurrent in those places.

Doublecabin wrote:With all due respect is this idea even on the radar of the tribes? I'm guessing the tribes would only sign on with major exceptions written into the charter so they could continue their religous, cultural, and resource harvest activities. I would guess hunting lobbies will fight this tooth and nail.

Another thing is as rugged as this area can be could it handle a substantial increase in traffic? I highly doubt busses/shuttles would be an option since many residents in the area require constant access.

I am a big proponent of preservation, but I'm not sure Park Service designation is the way to go in this instance.I doubt you would get a lot of local support because many people in that area think there use of public lands is already too restricted.


I would think that the tribes in the areas around the proposed park are aware of some of the things being bandied about. The Valles Caldera Preserve seems poised for a change in administration and there is talk of using it as the basis for a national park or monument. Interestingly enough, this would be a rare instance where national park (and preserve) designation for the preserve would be increase people's access and use of the land. The current administration was established as an experiment and as JFrishmanIII and Surgent have both pointed out, it has been a flop, making access to the land extremely inconvenient and even impossible in some cases.
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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby SeanReedy » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:11 pm

A bit of a tangent and from a biased source, but did ya'll hear about this potential designation in New Mexico?

http://wilderness.org/update/northern-new-mexico-track-national-monument
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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby Bubba Suess » Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:39 pm

SeanReedy wrote:A bit of a tangent and from a biased source, but did ya'll hear about this potential designation in New Mexico?
http://wilderness.org/update/northern-new-mexico-track-national-monument

That is an interesting proposal. I hope that if it comes to fruition it does not mess around with the campgrounds the BLM has established near the confluence of the Rio Grande and the Red. That used to be one of my go-to spots when I spent a lot of time out in New Mexico.
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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby jfrishmanIII » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:39 am

Well, here's another wrinkle in the whole Valles Caldera question: Jemez Pueblo Wants Valles Caldera. I can't really venture a guess how this will play out, but I don't expect it will mean a fast track for a park or merging with Bandelier.
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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby jfrishmanIII » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:51 pm

And news affecting this area just keeps coming: Plans for improvements at Buckman Crossing and Diablo Canyon. The area could definitely use some sprucing up, a lot of it's pretty trashed, but everything they're talking about seems overambitious to me. An improved boat launch, for instance, is overkill for a run whose flows are quite problematic and which would still have substantial takeout issues at the downstream end. And they mention RV campsites at Diablo on the attached map, which I'd say is way heavier development than the area needs.

The whole issue with contaminants from Los Alamos is also worth thinking about in any fantasy scenario of incorporating White Rock Canyon into a national park.
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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby Bubba Suess » Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:33 pm

Those are both interesting wrinkles. As far as the pueblo goes, there is some precedent with the return of the Blue Lake area to the Taos Pueblo. However, that land was originally part of the pueblo by treaty and then stripped away in the 20th century. The Valles Caldera, has never been part of the Jemez Pueblo by treaty. On the contrary, I think it is a really old land grant property. I could be wrong. I doubt their lawsuit will go very far.

It is nice to see some improvements being made to the canyon area. RV's do seem extreme though. Perhaps the rational for the boat launch is to build it now with plans for a better takeout in a future project. I say, if the funds are available, don't say no!

I still think the canyon would make a nice addition to a national park. A Jemez National Park is more deserving and has more justification than this recent farce.
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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby Sunny Buns » Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:35 am

If you want to "protect" the area of interest the very last thing you should consider is making it a National Park. With NP status it will be overrun by people as all of our NPs are today. They really are unpleasant places to visit. If you want to go into the back country in a NP you must put up with a LOT of useless red tape. If your goal is to provide competition for Disney World and 6 Flags Over Texas, by all means, make it a National Park.

If you want to protect the area of interest, consider making it a designated wilderness area. Provide a very few trailheads with parking lots and toilets and nothing else. No ranger stations, no visitor centers, no campgrounds, no permits, etc. Provide nothing that will cost the Government (the taxpayers) a dollar.

The United States, in case you didn't notice, is bankrupt and the consequences we will be facing in the near future, will be brutal. We cannot afford any more optional infrastructure.
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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby Mark Doiron » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:25 pm

Sunny Buns wrote:If you want to "protect" the area of interest the very last thing you should consider is making it a National Park. With NP status it will be overrun by people as all of our NPs are today. They really are unpleasant places to visit. ..

True for some of the national parks, but certainly not for all. Well, there is a little bit of red tape to go into the backcountry of places like Big Bend, Capitol Reef, etc. but it's pretty easy to obtain a permit the day of arrival, and they are free. There is some cost to having the NPS infrastructure, but it provides a layer of security and protection that unmanaged areas don't have. And, there is something about being in a national park, rather than on unmanaged BLM property or even an NRA, that encourages (most) people to be better stewards of the land. Campsites and trails are less trashed, rules are generally better followed (rules that protect the area), etc. Most of the ills you describe are applicable to the most popular of national parks. I don't think there is a remaining area that would ever become like them should it be designated a national park--it would already be a Yosemite or Yellowstone or Zion or Grand Canyon or one of the other dozen or so extremely popular parks. My youngest son and I have camped, hiked, backpacked, paddled, biked and four wheeled (oh no!) in 43 of the 47 national parks in the lower 48 states. And the best ones are the least popular ones--and the majority of them are "least popular".
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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby Sunny Buns » Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:01 am

The cost of NPS infrastructure would be huge. The government does not do anything efficiently. Just the costs of employee benefits alone would be huge - they'd pay rangers to explain the red tape for 20 years, then they'd retire and collect full pay for another 50 years. What a deal for the taxpayers. NOT.

Also, for those who believe global warming is made worse by driving automobiles to National Parks, this would be just one more spot on the map that people would feel that they just had to visit. So, they'd get in their SUVs and monster trucks and monster RVs and drive hundreds of miles each way, getting an average of 15 mpg so they could go to the visitor center, snap a few photos, then go camp in the NP campground and watch satellite TV in their RV.

There must be better ways to spend the money of our bankrupt banana republic.
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Re: Idea for a new national park in New Mexico

Postby Bubba Suess » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:01 pm

Sunny Buns wrote:The cost of NPS infrastructure would be huge. The government does not do anything efficiently. Just the costs of employee benefits alone would be huge - they'd pay rangers to explain the red tape for 20 years, then they'd retire and collect full pay for another 50 years. What a deal for the taxpayers. NOT.

Also, for those who believe global warming is made worse by driving automobiles to National Parks, this would be just one more spot on the map that people would feel that they just had to visit. So, they'd get in their SUVs and monster trucks and monster RVs and drive hundreds of miles each way, getting an average of 15 mpg so they could go to the visitor center, snap a few photos, then go camp in the NP campground and watch satellite TV in their RV.

There must be better ways to spend the money of our bankrupt banana republic.

There have been a few responses like this to my proposal of putting a national park in the Jemez. While I think that I would agree with some of the points regarding fiscal issues, I think they miss the point of the thread and end up making those that share their positions cringe a bit. The whole purpose of this thread was intended to be a reflection on the excellent qualities of the Jemez Mountains, a part of New Mexico that does not often get the attention it deserves. Accepting that national park status used to be a benchmark indicating that an area has exceptional scenic, geologic and historic qualities. Discussing the qualifications of the Jemez and the area's potential to meet the national park benchmark was supposed to be a celebration of the land, rather than an opportunity for political screed. I believe that it is the former, not the latter reason that we all gather here on Summitpost.

That said, while I may agree that the financial situation of this country's government is woeful, my proposal would not necessarily need to have any budgetary impact in the unlikely event that it came to pass. As noted here and in this thread, creation of a new national park does not necessitate an increase in spending. While I think the park in the aforementioned links is a silly idea, it is does demonstrate the potential for minimal impact to the budget.

As far as people being present in national parks, something expressed a few times in this thread and frequently elsewhere, I am not sure why people recoil at the thought. It smacks of a sort of Malthusian distaste for humanity. I am the first to admit that there are times when isolation in the wilderness is an edifying good. That is not hard to find, even in places like Yosemite Valley. Accepting that, it seems like folks are offended by the mere existence of places that attract large groups of people. It is as if providing infrastructure to get people outside or the very fact that people have gone outside is offensive. Sure, they may not be as committed to the out of doors or as adept at enjoying or even surviving in the wilderness, but what does it say about ourselves that we would seek to deny them the opportunity to experience nature, even if it is through the lens of a national park visitor's center or on a nature walk with a ranger. Those things aren't for me and I doubt they are for most who are here on Summitpost, but we should not deny someone else the chance to expand their horizons. Instead, I think we should show those less active or skilled than ourselves a little charity, help them experience the many benefits of a life in touch with nature, and be patient as people move at their own pace along a journey of discovery. Sure, there are times when this group of people can be frustrating, but the disgust expressed at them marches close to the bounds of bigotry.
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