The most significant expansion of national parks in decades includes a new park and greater protection for one of New Mexico’s most unique wild places.
In one of its final votes of 2014, Congress approved the creation of new public lands for New Mexico. the Valles Caldera preserve will be transferred from its current quasi-public management model as a national preserve to the National Park Service and New Mexico will join Washington and Tennessee in creating the tri-state Manhattan Project National Park to tell the story of the birth of the atomic age.
From the Los Alamos Monitor:
With today’s Senate passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, Congress has approved the most significant expansion of the National Park System in nearly three decades.
The legislation includes the approval of Valles Caldera National Preserve and the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Las Alamos as well as Hanford, Wash., and Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Senators Udall and Heinrich both championed and voted for the bill to create the parks.
In the House, Representatives Ben Ray Lujan and Michelle Lujan Grisham voted in favor as well.
Of New Mexico’s Congressional delegation, only Rep. Steve Pearce voted against the bill which included not only the new parks provisions but also funding for national defense and pay raises for soldiers.
Read more about that vote here.