This poster was presented at A Century of Design in the Parks Symposium, Santa Fe, New Mexico, June 21-23, 2016.
by Robert J. Stokes, and Christy Tafoya
New Mexico State Parks got its start during the dark days of the Depression with the help of the federal government and National Park Service through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps and State of New Mexico Governor Arthur Seligman. The New Mexico State Park Commission was established on August 31, 1933 and four parks were proposed: Santa Fe River/Hyde Memorial, La Joya near Socorro, Bottomless Lakes near Roswell, and Eastern New Mexico near Portales. With the invaluable assistance of the NPS-trained CCC workers, and with the participation of the Works Progress Administration, the infrastructure was built for these early parks. Although La Joya and Eastern New Mexico are no longer parks, the structures built at Santa Fe River/Hyde Memorial and Bottomless Lakes remain at the parks and are celebrated components of our park system. Additionally, the CCC and WPA contributed to the infrastructure at several federally owned reservoirs that are also operated as state parks, including Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir on the Rio Grande and Conchas Lake on the Canadian River. The lasting impacts of these early efforts at building state parks in New Mexico in the 1930s to early 1940s are documented in this poster.