Place:  Eagle Nest Lake State Park

Location:  Eagle Nest, New Mexico   

Person interviewed:  Jason Sides, Fishing Guide, Taos Fly Shop

How this place/site benefits you and your community: Public lands are the economic engine that drive this area. Eagle Nest State Park and Cimarron State Park support two fly shops and a marina that sells tackle, rents boats, and rents nearby cabins.  I’ve watched the diversity of use change, ten years ago you would never see a stand-up paddle board in Eagle Nest Lake. We’re seeing more recreational man powered boats, more people renting Kayaks and stand up paddle boards, this is new and good economic opportunity.  In the winter this area is a popular ice fishing location, and when the ice gets thick enough the snow mobile enthusiasts enjoy going across the lake, those guys are probably going 50-60 MPH across the ice and having a great time. I image some state parks get more visitor’s, but I can’t image the diversity of uses is the same.

The best thing we have in New Mexico are clean air and blue sky and you can’t package it up and ship it anywhere else, we have to bring those folks here. Our public lands, all of our public lands whether its state or federal are very important to a lot of us up here and it’s why conservation programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund are important to us, and why full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund is critical to New Mexico.

What is your favorite thing about this place: I think Eagle Nest Lake is underrated as far as a wildlife and bird watching destination. I have a wildlife background, so the wildlife really appeals to me. The bird watching here is phenomenal. I’ve actually changed the way I fish lakes, I use to fish with an indicator which kind of bobs but I end up getting distracted by all the birds and I’m not really fishing so I’ve changed my style to make sure I catch the fish as opposed to watching the birds.