The great outdoors

By Thomas Garcia: Freedom Newspapers

Wayne Clark of Tucumcari loves fishing, and 65 years of it has helped him develop a few methods.

“At Ute, I fish for bass or channel cat (catfish),” Clark said. “For the bass, I use a plug or spinner bait and cast and troll. And for the channel cat, I use a heavy weight and chicken liver, and just let it sit till they take a bite.”

Clark and other New Mexicans have plenty of choices for their summer camping and fishing needs. Whether they’re primitive sites, developed sites (shelter and tables) or set up for recreational vehicles, state parks are well-equipped to handle summer fun.

Fees vary from daily to annual charges. There are pay stations at every entrance. Visitors can purchase a day-use pass for $5 a vehicle or a camping permit of $8 for primitive, $10 developed and $14 for developed with electricity.

New Mexico State Parks have yearly permits and passes available for purchase for those who wish to enjoy all of the New Mexico State Parks year-round.

A yearly day-use pass is available for $40. This permit allows people to enjoy the lake all day. The permit can be used with any of the owner’s vehicles and is good at all New Mexico State Parks.

A yearly camping permit is $180 for residents ($100 for senior citizens) and $225 for out-of-state residents.

Permits are good for one year from purchase date.

Logan State Park

Located in Quay County, the park has boat docks located around Ute Lake. They are the South Side, Mine Canyon, North Side and Logan entrances.

“Currently we are in the process of adding 18 new camp sites and building another comfort station at the North entrance,” said Rodney Paris, Ute Lake State Park manager. “We have been working on some improvements for the park, and our staff is always ready and willing to help out when they can.”

There are 139 campsites throughout the park, including 75 with hookups for RVs. The North and Logan entrances also have comfort stations that provide restrooms and showers for park patrons.

There are five hotels in Logan and some mobile homes available for daily rental.

The South Side and Mine Canyon area are designated as primitive campsites. The North Side and Logan entrances are developed campsites.

The North side is also the location of the Ute Lake Marina. The marina has 42 boat slips, grocery, water sports, fishing supplies and a fueling station for boaters.

“The fish that have been biting are smallmouth bass and white sand bass,” said Ed Wright, manager of the North Dock Marina. “Everyone that has come in has said they caught them in deep water, around 30 feet.”

Events: The park hosts Logan’s annual Chuck Wagon Cookoff today (noon, $10 per ticket). Upcoming events include a May 26 Night Sky program and a Fourth of July barbecue. There are also interpretation programs during the summer weekends.

Information: 487-2284

Oasis State Park

Located in Roosevelt County, Oasis has 23 developed sites available for campers and fishers.

The park offers a 3-acre pond. It is stocked from Nov. 1 through March 31 with rainbow trout during the summer and before holidays (Fourth of July, Memorial and Labor Day weekends) with channel catfish by the New Mexico Game and Fish.

A group shelter is available for rent at the park for special events. It accommodates up to 80 people.

A comfort station with showers and restrooms is located in the park.

Upcoming events: There are interpretation programs every Saturday conducted by park personnel on topics from desert plants to night sky to cultural climate. The park also has two star-gazing sessions scheduled for June 16 and July 14, and the second annual Old Tyme Music concert on May 12.

Miscellaneous: The park is one mile south of the Historical Blackwater Draw Archeological Site. A few miles south in Portales is the Eastern New Mexico Natural History Museum and the Blackwater Draw Museum.

Information: 356-5331

Sumner Lake State Park

The Sumner Lake Park in De Baca County has 167 camp sites available: 116 primitive, 51 developed. Of the developed sites, 18 have electricity, 37 have water outlets and two have sewer hookups.

There are 18 developed sites that have electricity, 37 of them have water outlets and only two have sewer hookups. There are two comfort stations available at the park.

Besides fishing and boating, the park also has hiking, nature and horseback trails available.

Events: Lake Sumner Volunteer Fire Department members sponsor a July 4 fireworks show. Other events include the staff-sponsored “Youth Daze” on July 21 and “Fishing for Dollars” Oct. 1-March 31.

Miscellaneous: The park is located near the grave site of Billy the Kid, the Bosque Redondo Memorial and the Fort Sumner State Monument — the Civil War Era outpost that was the destination of the “Historical Long Walk.”

Information: 355-2541

Conchas State Park

Located in San Miguel County, about 34 miles north of Tucumcari, the park has five boat ramps and 105 developed campsites — 40 with electricity. The main entrance of the park has a comfort station at the visitors center.

There are no hotels around the Conchas State Park, but private mobile homes are available for rent by the day.

One of the state’s largest lakes, Conchas includes 60 miles of varied shoreline, secluded coves, canyons and sandy beaches. Many rock formations date back to the days of dinosaurs, and the park’s Web site said observant visitors to the water may find fossils of ancient aquatic life.

The Conchas North Dock Marina has 70 slips, grocery supplies, bait and tackle, and water sports equipment.

Information: 868-2270