From our campsite lakeside at Heron Lake State Park, near Chama NM.
So much of our attention today rides with the 27 National Monuments under review by the Dept of Interior. And budgetary woes threaten to yank the supports from under our National Parks; indeed that is already happening. Some Parks have considered selling branding to monied corporations in order to keep bathrooms operating.
We’re at Heron Lake State Park on our way up to Colorado. The park encompasses the Heron Lake Reservoir, with 200+ campsites, boat ramps and kayaks for rent. It’s well kept and quiet. These last days we have been one of 4 occupied campsites on our entire loop. I’m sure it’s not always this empty. The park has erected a number of osprey platforms around the lake, one within sight of our loop, others along the trail that wanders between campgrounds. “Our” nest has a successful pair with one chick; another nest has parents with two. It’s said there are Bald Eagles here; my birdwalks scored Western Grebes, Green Tail Towees, Canada Geese, Killdeer, a flock of Black Headed Grosbeaks and a family of Flycatchers. Those were just the ones I got close enough to identify. There are elk and deer in abundance and where there’s prey, there’s predators: the camp host told me that a mountain lion completes the wild picture around the lake.
Our state parks, like Heron Lake State Park here in northern NM are just as vulnerable to misappropriation by a greedy-few politicians who see an opportunity to enrich their patrons and curry favor. And vulnerable as well to a failing or slowing economy when opening a state park to oil, gas and other extractive industry is the obvious way to raise the money to keep the schools open. Yet, the fate of state parks may fall under our collective radar at a time when we are worried about our national public lands. Come and visit. Fill some of these campsites and put in on this wake-free lake. Bring binoculars and cameras–the longer the lens the better–to check out the Ospreys. Or go and visit your nearest state park to see what it has to offer!