This story is a staff report from The Paper.

The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) State Parks Division announced FREE day-use at all state parks and FREE fishing in recognition of National Public Lands and National Hunting and Fishing Day on Saturday, September 24th.

National Public Lands Day was established in 1994 and is held annually on the fourth Saturday in September.  The day celebrates the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open space for education, recreation, and health benefits. Typically, this day brings out the highest number of people volunteering to clean up public parks and participate in activities that highlight the value of these public spaces across the country.

Also, on the fourth Saturday of each September, National Hunting and Fishing Day recognizes generations of sportsmen and women for their contributions to the conservation of our nation’s rich sporting heritage and natural resources. One of the main goals of National Hunting and Fishing Day is to recruit new hunters and anglers by encouraging participation and increasing public awareness of the connection between hunting, angling, and conservation.

“We invite you to join us for free day-use access and fishing at your New Mexico State Parks and throughout New Mexico’s rivers, streams and lakes,” said Toby Velasquez, Director of New Mexico State Parks. “We want to encourage New Mexicans to get out with their friends and families to enjoy their Land of Enchantment.”

New Mexico State Parks wants everyone to have a safe and memorable trip this weekend. Below are a few tips to help you prepare.

  • Plan your trip
  • Always wear a life jacket when recreating on the water
  • Bring plenty of food and water
  • Ensure your cell phone is fully charged
  • Observe wildlife at a safe distance
  • Make sure pets are properly secured and on a leash
  • Stay on the trails
  • Know your limitations
  • Take breaks during your excursion

For more information on all 35 of your New Mexico State Parks, please visit https://www.emnrd.nm.gov/spd/ or reserve your camping space today at https://www.reserveamerica.com/.