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Museum of New Mexico Press
On July 14, 2000, President Clinton signed into law the Valles Caldera Preservation Act, a visionary piece of legislation establishing the process by which an 89,000-acre tract of privately owned ranchland in northern New Mexico's Jemez Mountains would be transerred to the federal government and managed for public use.
For good reason, the Valles Caldera had already been the focus of intense public interest for decades: it is a land of superlatives. In beauty, productivity, ecological and geological significance, scientific interest, cultural importance, and in sheer magnificence, it is a landscape of the first rank. Its singularity began with the geological events that unfolded some 1.22 million years ago when the area became the scene of violent volcanic activity and subsequently formed a giant caldera, or collapsed volcano, in the present Jemez Mountains. Today the massive volcanic field is dormant but not extinct.
About the Author
William deBuys chaired the board of trustees for the Valles Caldera Trust from its formation in 2001 until 2005. He is the author of several books, among them "Enchantment and Exploitation: The Life and Hard Times of a New Mexico Range"; "River of Traps: A Village Life"; and "Salt Dreams: Land and Water in Low-Down California".
Don J. Usner was born and grew up in New Mexico. He earned his B.A. in biology and environmental studies at the University of California and his M.A. in cultural geography at the University of New Mexico. His books include "Sabino's Map: Life in Chimayo's Old Plaza"; "Benigna's Chimayo: Cuentos from the Old Plaza"; and "Route 66 On Tour: Legendary Architecture from Glenrio to Gallup".