Summer ends at area lakes

William Thompson

On Labor Day afternoon, many visitors to Ute Lake and Conchas Lake were pulling boats and jet skis out of the water, perhaps for the last time this year. Tara Carter, administrator for Ute Lake State Park, said visitation will decline sharply as cooler weather approaches.

“We expect park visitation to slow down dramatically. We will make revenues but they will be down about 50 percent,” said Carter. “Fall is the time we spend on park projects and maintenance. We will be revamping electricity at the North campground and the Logan Park area. There is a possibility that we will build a new comfort station with restrooms and showers near the Yucca campground.”

Paul Fishell, Acting Superintendent of Conchas Dam State Park, likewise said that the fall and winter months will be slow for visitation. “Visitation will drop off dramatically,” said Fishell. “We had a good, safe Labor Day weekend. We had one jet ski collision, but that was it.” Chris Hoover of Albuquerque brought his wife, son and daughter to Conchas Lake for Labor Day weekend. He said the lake was packed. “You really have to watch out for those jet skis,” said Hoover, “ but I like Conchas Lake because you can get out of the wind here and the fishing is pretty good.”
Fishell said the park had activities for children over the weekend. “We had a star party, and kids were shown how to make paper hot air balloons,” said Fishell. “We were going to have tethered hot air balloon rides but there was too much wind.”

Joe Sanchez traveled with a dozen family members and friends from Albuquerque. He said everybody had a good time. “The park was packed. You have to watch what you are doing when you are out on the lake,” said Sanchez. “We grilled steaks, pork chops and hamburgers. I’ve been coming here every weekend this summer.” Revenues were up slightly at both Ute Lake and Conchas Lake this Labor Day weekend according to park officials.