• Photo of the steep natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

    Carlsbad Caverns

    National Park New Mexico

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  • Scenic Loop Road Closed

    The 9-mile scenic Loop Road (Desert Drive) is closed due to flood damage. The road will reopen as soon as repairs are done. This scenic road does not affect access to the visitor center or the cave.

  • Rattlesnake Springs Area Closed

    Rattlesnake Springs area will remain closed through the weekend (9-28-14) due to hazardous road conditions and downed trees caused by torrential rains.

  • All Camping Suspended Until Further Notice

    All camping in the park has been suspended until further notice due to flood damage on backcountry roads and trails.

Caverns to Develop Management Plan for Rattlesnake Springs

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Date: May 4, 2006
Contact: Bridget Litten, 505.785.3024

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Superintendent John Benjamin announced that the park is developing a management plan and an environmental assessment for the Rattlesnake Springs unit and is seeking public input on issues and concerns.

The Rattlesnake Springs unit was acquired in 1934 primarily to ensure a reliable domestic water supply for cavern area development. The stream and wetland system has been sustained by the remaining undiverted spring flow and is an extraordinary natural resource. More than 350 species of birds, at least 40 species of amphibians and reptiles, at least 30 species of mammals, and a very high diversity of invertebrate species occur at Rattlesnake Springs. In addition, this area was used by prehistoric and historic peoples. For its significant role in our nation’s history, this area has been recognized as the Rattlesnake Springs Historic District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has recently been identified as a Cultural Landscape.

The current plan was completed in 1989 and needs to be updated to include changing conditions, new research, and more detailed management information. The Rattlesnake Springs unit is the only domestic water source for the park, as well as an extraordinary natural area, and an important cultural landscape. The development of a comprehensive plan will allow the park to look at ways to protect interrelated resource values, such as maintaining historic features while enhancing biotic resources. The challenge of the Rattlesnake Springs Management Plan will be to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources while providing for a range of opportunities, facilitating research, and maintaining infrastructure for water delivery.

The park will hold an open house meeting on May 23rd, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Stevens Inn (1829 South Canal Street), in Carlsbad. The meeting will begin with a brief presentation about Rattlesnake Springs that will be followed by an open forum in which the public can ask questions or submit issues and concerns.

It is expected that the draft Rattlesnake Springs Management Plan and Environmental Assessment will be released for public comment by winter 2007. The public is invited to identify issues and concerns that they would like to see addressed in the plan. Comments may be sent via email to CAVE_Planning@nps.gov, or write to Rattlesnake Springs Management Plan, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, 3225 National Parks Highway, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220. Comments will also be accepted at the National Park Service’s (NPS) Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website (parkplanning.nps.gov). Comments during the public scoping period will be accepted through June 15, 2006.

It is the practice of the NPS to make all comments, including names and addresses of respondents who provide that information, available for public review following the conclusion of the process. Individuals may request that the NPS withhold their name and/or address from public disclosure. If you wish to do this, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. Commentators using the PEPC website can make such a request by checking the box “keep my contact information private.” The NPS will honor such requests to the extent allowable by law, but you should be aware that the NPS may still be required to disclose your name and address pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.

For more information, contact park biologist Danielle Foster at 505.785.3100. To be placed on a mailing list to receive other planning-related information, contact public affairs specialist Bridget Litten at 505.785.3024.

Did You Know?

Permian ocean bottom.

The limestone rock that holds Carlsbad Cavern is full of ocean fossil plants and animals from a time before the dinosaurs when the southeastern corner of New Mexico was a coastline similar to the Florida Keys.