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Photo Courtesy of NPS
Valles Caldera National Preserve is in the process of starting night sky astronomy programs while we pursue Dark Sky certification from the International Dark Sky Association. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to help set up a dark sky program at a National Park unit. Your accomplishments set the tone for generations!
We are seeking volunteers to help with all aspects of dark sky events. Ideally we are looking for individuals with some knowledge of the night sky. This could include history, cultural stories, knowledge of night sky objects, telescope use, or something else. Volunteers could also help with duties such as running the bookstore during events, assisting visitors with parking, greeting visitors, keeping statistics, and more. Typically April - October.
Located in north/central New Mexico, Valles Caldera sits atop the beautiful Jemez Mountains. Elevations range from 8,300' to over 11,000'. Summers are delightful with abundant wildlife including elk, prairie dogs, badgers, black bears, and more. Wildflowers are abundant in spring and early summer. Over 1000 miles of trails provide exceptional adventures via hiking, biking, or horseback riding. Fly fishing is extremely popular with brown trout and rainbows. Local communities with services include Los Alamos, Jemez Springs, Rio Rancho, White Rock, Espanola, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque.
Housing does not exist in the preserve. Local RV lots in Jemez Springs or Los Alamos are options with a 30-40 minute drive. The Santa Fe National Forest also surrounds the preserve where they offer a variety of campgrounds which often need campground hosts. We could facilitate that possibility for interested parties.
Brief Administrative History:
Valles Caldera National Preserve is a newer unit to the National Park Service system. The preserve was a private ranch for over 150 years before the federal government purchased the land in 2000. From 2000-2015 the preserve was managed by the Valles Caldera Trust. In 2015 the National Park Service was given the responsibility to manage the land.