Discussions Will Begin to Consider Future of Park in New Mexico
The New Mexico House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation Wednesday night to launch discussions about the future of a Mount Cristo Rey Dinosaur Tracks park. The discussions could lead to a 200 acre nature park owned by Insights El Paso Science Center at the base of Mount Cristo Rey be transferred to a New Mexico organization. The discussions will be facilitated by the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resource Department’s State Parks Division and include key stakeholders including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Museum of Natural History, CARTA, the association for the El Camino Real National Historic Trail, and the Rio Grande Trail Commission.
“I am pleased that the House has passed legislation formally establishing a dialogue with Insights El Paso Science Center about the future of this very special place. I appreciate our State Parks Department for helping to lead the discussions. This park could end up playing a bigger role in providing recreation and tourism opportunities to Doña Ana County,” said Representative Jeff Steinborn.
At a recent meeting of the Rio Grande Trail Commission in Las Cruces in January, Insights El Paso Science Center expressed a desire to convey the science center to a New Mexico organization that could manage it for its natural assets and potential. In response to this outreach, State Representative Jeff Steinborn (Las Cruces) introduced House Memorial 35 encouraging Insights El Paso Science Center to begin discussions with state organizations to explore different ownership and management options for the park.
Ellen Esposito, President of Insights El Paso Science Center signaled that discussions with state officials could be the beginning of the next chapter of preservation of the Mount Cristo Rey site. “We are proud of the rich paleontological resources, cultural heritage, and historical assets in and around this special place and are excited to have conversations with our New Mexico counterparts to see how we can protect it forever.”
The Mount Cristo Rey Property has been discussed as a possible southern ending point for the proposed 500 mile Rio Grande Trail, running from Colorado to Texas.
In the 2015 legislation session, Representative Steinborn passed legislation establishing the Rio Grande Trail Commission. The Commission is tasked with planning the 500 mile trail across New Mexico, from Colorado to the Texas border.