Paris receives state parks’ highest honor

By QCS Staff

Rodney Paris, park superintendent at Ute Lake park, has been given The Governor’s Award, the highest honor to a field employee at the state’s Parks Division.

“It is an honor to receive this award,” said Paris. “This truly shows the effort that the entire Ute Lake staff puts into improving the park.”
The state Parks Division is part of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department

Paris was recognized for his accomplishments in law enforcement, community relations and park management, according to a release.
He led the division’s disaster response effort when tornados struck the Village of Logan this year, he helped found the Friends of Ute Lake, and helped improve private boat dock safety, the release said. 

Paris implemented new simulated firearms training for park officers, a program that has been adopted by the rest of the division; and Paris improved collaboration with local police to address underage drinking at the lake.

Friends of Ute Late now has over 100 members, “which is excellent for the first year,” Paris said.

The group is completing a fish weigh station for the multiple bass tournaments that are held at the lake, helping with landscaping the park and several more projects are in the planning, Paris said.

In work with the boat dock safety, Paris said that he and the rest of division worked with the state’s Interstate Stream Commission and the Boat Dock Advisory Committee to ensure that all rules and regulations are followed.

“This is truly about things that my staff did. I’m the one accountable at the park, but my staff truly deserves the credit for everything we’ve accomplished.”

At Ute Lake Park are seven additional full-time park staff members, seven seasonal staff members, who work from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and several volunteers, Paris said.

Also recognized was Linnea Paris, Rodney Paris’s wife, who received the Spouse Award for supporting the division and voluntarily assisting Rodney Paris in his work.