Higher waters at Elephant Butte threaten resident pirate


ELEPHANT BUTTE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been years since Willy the Pirate staked out his land in Pirate’s Cove at Elephant Butte, but rising waters are threatening his plot of land. Butte visitors and park rangers are on standby to move Willy back if necessary. Even organizations like the New Mexico Jeep Group came to Willy’s aid, buying his new life preserver.

There’s some discrepancy as to exactly when he first appeared and the legend has it that high school students from Truth or Consequences are the ones who first brought him there. Ever since, it’s become a tradition from when Willy first appeared on the cove that visitors would leave objects of sentiment.

“I put a witches coven,” said Butte visitor Victoria Maxey. “We put some crosses where there’s some grave stones and of course the little ones brought some golden rocks.”

Even with Willy and his treasures facing the dangers of the rising water, it’s actually a problem that state resource officials are glad the Butte is facing.

“These are the highest lake levels they’ve been since 2011,” said Beth Wojahn, Communications Director from the New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department. “And in recent years with the drought, we’re really happy that the lake is so high.”

Elephant Butte visitors said they also welcome more water and will have no trouble moving Willy and his treasure to higher ground.

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