Saturday, February 27, 2016

Park Service denies renewal of contract to Carlsbad nonprofit

After nearly 60 years of working with local national parks, the contract between the Carlsbad Caverns/Guadalupe Mountains Association and the National Park Service has not been renewed. On Feb. 17, the bookstores run by the association at Carlsbad Caverns National Park and a Guadalupe Mountains National Park cleared their shelves and packed away their inventory. "I really love the Caverns," store employee Dorry Batchelder said, tears welling up in her eyes as she stood behind the cash register. "I really loved this job." Batchelder, one of 11 full time employees who are now out of work, said she was not having any luck finding a new job as of last week. The association has run a bookstore out of Carlsbad Caverns National Park since 1957 and out of Guadalupe Mountains National Park since the 70s, according to the organization's board chair Steve West. West also said they have donated more than $3.5 million to the two parks during that time. West claimed the National Park Service has not been fair in its dealings with his organization, citing poor communication and working conditions, which has only made the relationship worse. "Maybe the next people that come in, they’ll treat with a little bit of decency and respect," West said...more

Senators Udall & Heinrich were successful in transferring 95,000 acres in northern NM (Valles Caldera) to the Park Service, and over time, the locals there can expect similar treatment.

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