A "Friends" group is non-profit organization that forms a cooperative agreement with the park and helps fund development at the park. So if you want to have a bird blind area for bird watching, the Friends group could propose that and raise funds to help pay for it. If you'd like to see more trash dumpsters around the park, the Friends group could raise the funds and help pay for it. If you would like to see more trails for hiking, biking, and equestrian, the Friends group could help raise the money to pay for development of the trails.
The members discussed some of the issues they would like to see worked on at the park. It included trash dumpsters, hiking trails, equestrian trails, fishing events and many other things.
We did get into a minor discussion of the previous exclusion of equestrian from the lake. That was a past administration, and any animosity toward equestrian was not found among the current administration. Those of you who were asked to leave in the past, let it be known that they won’t run you out again. There currently is not a camping site available for horses so don’t expect to drive in and camp at the main parking area. For safety reasons, the Park won’t let you camp there. However they are completely open to development of an equestrian friendly campsite. Equestrian are welcome to ride the park and assist in trails development as well.
The Park personnel are also in discussions with our Zuni Mountain Trail Partnership to work on developing a trail from the south end of the park to connect into the proposed Zuni Mountain Trails in the USFS just a mile away.
Right now the biggest concern the park staff has is the interactions of the feral horses coming in from the section of Navajo Tribal land that may harass and or attack the riders and their horses. When we rode the park years ago, we never really had a problem with this, but it is still of some concern.
So what does this all mean for us? Well, the development of a “Friends” group outside of the state financial control means that we as a group can fund the projects that are important. We as a “group” can help develop trails, the camping areas, bring in events to the park as fund raisers etc. So if you like to ride and your spouse likes to fish or hike, you can help the park develop both resources.
We can do this in a couple of ways.
1. We can join the “Friends of Bluewater Lake” and have direct input as the project priorities and development of facilities.
2. We can assist as any other association, and have indirect input and aid to developing the trails.
3. Or we can do a little of both.
I don’t know how many of you have ever been to the El Caballo Lake State Park down in T or C, but they have an awesome campsite that is multi-use and equestrian friendly. It’s mainly used for large groups with a pavilion in the center and the campsites circling like spokes from a wagon wheel. It had water and electric hook ups at each site as well as room for the large trailers and horses. I’d love to see something like that developed at Bluewater Lake.
There will be another meeting set up in November (around the 17th or 18th) (date not set in stone yet) to organize the “Friends” association and to elect board members. It will be held they believe again at the Cibola County main office and hopefully in the large conference room as it won’t be competing for space with the commission meeting.
More details as they come.