As the State of New Mexico wages its own battle against COVID-19, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham updated an emergency order that for the time being, bans any non-New Mexico residents from its state parks.

The catalyst for the change seems to have been the 4th of July weekend which saw plenty of out of state traffic at places such as Elephant Butte Lake as well as it’s more desirable camping grounds.  Starting today, anybody going to a New Mexico state park will be asked to present proof of residency.  Those that are unable to do so or provide proof of residency from outside the Land of Enchantment will be turned around and asked to go home.

If you’re wondering if White Sands National Monument is off limits, the answer to that is no it’s not, but it kind of is also.  White Sands is a national park so it’s not subject to the emergency order outright banning anybody that does not live in New Mexico.  However, they are obligated to enforce the portion of the order stating that anybody who is visiting New Mexico from out of state must self-quarantine for 14 days. If you were to drive into New Mexico today with the intention of doing some sand sledding, you would have to wait two weeks before they let you into White Sands.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that the New Mexico Governor missed the mark on this one.  If there ever there was a place in which social distancing could be observed, you would figure most state parks would have the real estate to allow for at least six feet of separation.  At some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, things will get back to normal and I’m sure that there will be plenty of El Pasoans (and others) that will always feel like they’re not welcome in the back of their mind.

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