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Congressman pushes to make Sunset Crater National Monument bigger

A bill introduced in Congress would expand the area of northern Arizona’s popular Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.

The bill would transfer about 100 acres around the monument from the National Forest to the National Park Service. Right now, buildings like the visitor center are situated on adjacent national forest land, not park service land.

That creates a unique barrier for getting repairs done to, for example, the visitor center. So repairs need additional approvals from the Forest Service.

Rep. Tom O’Halleran, a Democrat, introduced the bill. He said it would eliminate red tape.

He last tried to make the change with then-Congresswoman Martha McSally.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.