16 U.S. Code § 698v - Findings and purposes

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(a) Findings
Congress finds that—
(1)the Baca ranch comprises most of the Valles Caldera in central New Mexico, and constitutes a unique land mass, with significant scientific, cultural, historic, recreational, ecological, wildlife, fisheries, and productive values;
(2)the Valles Caldera is a large resurgent lava dome with potential geothermal activity;
(3)the land comprising the Baca ranch was originally granted to the heirs of Don Luis Maria Cabeza de Vaca in 1860;
(4)historical evidence, in the form of old logging camps and other artifacts, and the history of territorial New Mexico indicate the importance of this land over many generations for domesticated livestock production and timber supply;
(5)the careful husbandry of the Baca ranch by the current owners, including selective timbering, limited grazing and hunting, and the use of prescribed fire, have preserved a mix of healthy range and timber land with significant species diversity, thereby serving as a model for sustainable land development and use;
(6)the Baca ranch’s natural beauty and abundant resources, and its proximity to large municipal populations, could provide numerous recreational opportunities for hiking, fishing, camping, cross-country skiing, and hunting;
(7)the Forest Service documented the scenic and natural values of the Baca ranch in its 1993 study entitled “Report on the Study of the Baca Location No. 1, Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico”, as directed by Public Law 101–556;
(8)the Baca ranch can be protected for current and future generations by continued operation as a working ranch under a unique management regime which would protect the land and resource values of the property and surrounding ecosystem while allowing and providing for the ranch to eventually become financially self-sustaining;
(9)the current owners have indicated that they wish to sell the Baca ranch, creating an opportunity for Federal acquisition and public access and enjoyment of these lands;
(10)certain features on the Baca ranch have historical and religious significance to Native Americans which can be preserved and protected through Federal acquisition of the property;
(11)the unique nature of the Valles Caldera and the potential uses of its resources with different resulting impacts warrants a management regime uniquely capable of developing an operational program for appropriate preservation and development of the land and resources of the Baca ranch in the interest of the public;
(12)an experimental management regime should be provided by the establishment of a Trust capable of using new methods of public land management that may prove to be cost-effective and environmentally sensitive; and
(13)the Secretary may promote more efficient management of the Valles Caldera and the watershed of the Santa Clara Creek through the assignment of purchase rights of such watershed to the Pueblo of Santa Clara.
(b) Purposes
The purposes of sections 698v to 698v–10 of this title are—
(1)to authorize Federal acquisition of the Baca ranch;
(2)to protect and preserve for future generations the scientific, scenic, historic, and natural values of the Baca ranch, including rivers and ecosystems and archaeological, geological, and cultural resources;
(3)to provide opportunities for public recreation;
(4)to establish a demonstration area for an experimental management regime adapted to this unique property which incorporates elements of public and private administration in order to promote long term financial sustainability consistent with the other purposes enumerated in this subsection; and
(5)to provide for sustained yield management of Baca ranch for timber production and domesticated livestock grazing insofar as is consistent with the other purposes stated herein.


(Pub. L. 106–248, title I, § 102,July 25, 2000, 114 Stat. 598.)
References in Text

Pub. L. 101–556, referred to in subsec. (a)(7), is Pub. L. 101–556, Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2762, which is not classified to the Code.
Short Title of 2005 Amendment

Pub. L. 109–132, § 1,Dec. 20, 2005, 119 Stat. 2570, provided that: “This Act [amending sections 698v–2 and 698v–4 to 698v–6 of this title] may be cited as the ‘Valles Caldera Preservation Act of 2005’.”
Short Title

Pub. L. 106–248, title I, § 101,July 25, 2000, 114 Stat. 598, provided that: “This title [enacting this section and sections 698v–1 to 698v–10 of this title] may be cited as the ‘Valles Caldera Preservation Act’.”


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