Serving the High Plains

Bill signed that appropriates money for parks

New Mexico’s governor last week signed a bill that appropriates an additional $20 million to the Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department for improvements to state parks, including Conchas Lake State Park north of Tucumcari and Ute Lake State Park in Logan.

According to a news release, the enacted House Bill 2 “will make significant investments in state parks allowing EMNRD to address a backlog of facilities and infrastructure maintenance.”

Susan Torres, public information officer for the Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department, stated in an email to the Quay County Sun that improving boat access and water surface treatment at Conchas Lake “is on our maintenance list” with the new funding.

Torres also stated Ute Lake would see road infrastructure improvements.

She didn’t say how much money specifically those two parks would receive, saying only the $20 million “will be spread across the State Park system.”

The news release from the agency states that state parks “provide economic opportunities across the state and by improving infrastructure and investing in facilities to enhance the visitor experience, New Mexico will connect more people with the outdoors and diversify our economy.”

"The legislature has recognized the importance of outdoor recreation and environmental protection by funding improvements to State Parks and remediating lands impacted by the oil and gas industry," EMNRD Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst said. "With the governor's signature today, we are putting significant investments in our outdoor recreation economy and protecting human health and the environment."

The bill signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also allocates $3.5 million for orphan and inactive oil and gas well planning, identification and program implementation.