State Parks cracking down on those violating current restrictions, closures

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Only 17 of the 35 New Mexico State Parks are open right now, they’re cracking down on people who are going into the parks that are closed. Some people refuse to abide by the rules and state park officials say they’re out looking for those people.

“We’re taking those restrictions seriously, especially in those state parks that are closed for access. Our officers always approach those situations to educate, inform and redirect visitors to other areas that are accessible,” said Toby Velasquez, the Deputy Director of New Mexico State Parks Division.

News 13 did a quick search of Magistrate Court records Wednesday morning, finding six citations. Those citations were written for everything from fishing on water while a park was closed, entering a restricted area and driving through the barricades at the front of a park.

Two of those citations were written at Elephant Butte, one of the state’s most popular parks. Earlier this week Neal Brown, the President of Lago Rico Inc. said that it’s time for the governor to reopen the Butte, saying if other state parks and lakes could reopen there’s no reason they should stay closed. “This used to be the land of the free and brave, and now it’s the land of the oppressed and scared,” said Brown.

We asked how the state decided which parks could reopen, they said they looked at their ability to manage crowd sizes at each park. Right now people can only visit those 17 open parks during the daytime. Those 18 other state parks are closed 24/7. The open parks are requiring visitors to wear face masks unless they’re exercising or eating. Those open parks are requiring visitors to wear face masks unless they’re exercising or eating.

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