A declining water elevation and shoreline damage prompted the closure of the south boat ramp at Conchas Lake State Park, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials.
"Heading into the holiday weekend we wanted to update the concerned citizens about the south boat ramp being closed," said Karl Martin, Albuquerque District chief, Lake Operations Branch.
Martin said the ramp was primarily closed in the interest of safety. He said the extended drought in eastern New Mexico has had profound impacts on the lake elevation at Conchas.
Martin said staff noticed problems beginning to develop at the south boat ramp last year. He said the end of the concrete ramp is above the water, which if used, could result in dangers for a person and their property.
Martin said when someone tried to launch their boat from the ramp it often resulted in the vehicle getting stuck in the sand. He said this resulted not only in property damage, the shoreline of the lake was also damaged by the vehicle owner's attempts to free the vehicle.
Martin said it was not a popular decision to close the ramp and the public has expressed some concern and displeasure, though it was one that needed to be made for the concern of the public's safety.
Martin said a boat ramp operated by New Mexico State Parks is still open for lake visitors to use. He said signs have been posted to direct the public to that location.
Park staff have been monitoring the water elevation and at this time the north side boat ramp is open and can accommodate all water craft launches, said Lloyd Maestas, park ranger.
Martin said the Corps of Engineers is working on solutions to open the south boat ramp. He said they have discussed extending the ramp, though it is still in discussion and there are no current plans to extend the ramp at this time.