Banner years for some national monuments in New Mexico

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – From the fresh air to the history along the trails, people are visiting national monuments in New Mexico in record-breaking waves.

“We love petroglyphs. Love them,” said Scott Gast, a visitor at Petroglyph National Monument from Colorado.

“It’s beautiful, it really is,” Karen Slager, a visitor at Petroglyph National Monument from Chicago-area.

In 2019, Petroglyph National Monument saw 293,957 visitors. That’s about 30,000 more than it’s the previous record.

In 2019, Capulin Volcano National Monument, in between Raton and Clayton, saw 81,617 visitors.

“We knew we had a record year last year but it turns out we haven’t had a year with that much visitation since 1968,” said Geoff Goins, Chief of Interpretation at Capulin Volcano National Monument.

The numbers are a welcome surprise to him and his staff since last year they experienced the government shutdown and the temporary closure of a popular park road.

“We know we had some numbers decrease then, especially when the road closed, we saw our numbers go way down. It was surprising even with that, how much visitation we did have in the summer,” Goins said.

Both Petroglyphs and Capulin Volcano attribute the hike in visitors to good weather. Capulin Volcano also points to new signage along I-25.

“I think those signs, ‘Hey it’s only 16 miles to Capulin Volcano National Monument,’ really got people in the door here,” said Goins.

Whether the sun or the signs, park-goers are thrilled to hear others are making the trip.

“There’s so many different things you can see and it’s just a learning course and really impressive,” said Hope Barr, a visitor at Petroglyph National Monument.

“I think that’s wonderful. Because we have national treasures and so many people don’t get to see them,” Slager said. “It just is very exciting that our national parks are well attended. It makes me happy.”

Capulin Volcano National Monument experienced the big numbers despite raising prices from $15 in 2018 to $20 in 2019.

To view the attendance numbers of all national monuments, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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