Video: Confrontation between out-of-state visitor, park ranger who turned him away

Coronavirus New Mexico

EAGLE NEST, N.M. (KRQE) – It turns out state workers are enforcing the governor’s public health order. New video shows a state park ranger turning away an out-of-state visitor who was not happy about it. The visitor, who said he was from Colorado, questioned the park ranger.

The visitor said it was an open air space and they were not putting anyone in danger. “I am a taxpayer and I am an American and this is my country,” the visitor said. “We are not sick.”

Out-of-state visitors are prohibited from visiting New Mexico State Parks and has been in effect since mid-July. The man taking the video called it fascism and told the ranger he should quit his job. “My wife is Russian,” the visitor said. “This is what they do in eastern Europe communist countries.”

Susan Torres with the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department said they are continuing to see a lot of out-of-state visitors show up at state parks. “Most of the time, people have not looked up the information beforehand, and we are doing education, and they go on their way,” Torres said. “Unfortunately, sometimes, people are upset.”

Torres said people are asked to provide a New Mexico license, proof of residency, and New Mexico license plates to enter. “We saw record-breaking cases last week, so anything we can do to try and mitigate the risk is what we are going to do,” Torres said.

The governor’s office said they are grateful for the work of rangers who enforce the public health orders after the governor stressed the importance of enforcement last week. “We need to step up the state’s enforcement,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said during an Oct. 15 news conference. “That is not an area anybody wants to do. We want to be doing this as a state collective. This is a state known for taking care of each other.”

The governor’s office went on to say that the ranger handled himself with the utmost professionalism in the face of a non-compliant individual who attempted to escalate the situation. The governor’s office added that thousands of state government workers uphold the state’s regulations every day. New Mexico State Parks encourages everyone to check park websites beforehand.


New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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