New Mexico State Parks prepare for big holiday weekend

ELEPHANT BUTTE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a big holiday weekend for state parks. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to pack campsites and lakes over the next three days and spots are filling fast.

The crowded attendance at Elephant Butte State park over Memorial Day weekend has park officials expecting even more people to hit the lake this weekend.

Elephant Butte is one of the state’s biggest holiday hot spots. Last year, the area had a banner year when it came to visitors with more than 125,000 people visiting from June 29th to July 5th.

As for this year, reserved spots are filling up fast so if you haven’t booked your camp site yet, you may be out of luck.

“Based on our reservation system, we use Reserve America online, most of our state parks are nearing capacity on the reserve sites,” said Christina Cordova, Public Relations Coordinator.

Representatives say many of the best spots are first come first serve so it’s important to get there early. A lot of the state parks with lakes have what representatives call primitive camping right along the shoreline.  You can do that at Elephant Butte, Conchas, and Ute Lake.

“There’s a string of campers and there’s a second row. By this weekend come Saturday it could be five deep into that shoreline camping so that’s really indicative of people coming out and just wanting to come out and be on the water,” said Cordova.

As for celebrations, Elephant Butte and Ute Lake will be setting off fireworks on Saturday night. Conchas State Park’s firework show is on Sunday. Eagle Nest and Summer Lake will celebrate on Monday.

With a big turnout expected, that also means a lot of green for both Elephant Butte and T or C, bringing in money spent on groceries, local restaurants, rentals and gas.

While Elephant Butte officials don’t have an exact amount the park drums up during the holidays, they tell us all of that money raised goes right back to the state which funds all its other parks.

To find a park or make a reservation, click here.

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