Federal incompetence costs NM a few tourist dollars

According to new data from the State, New Mexico is seeing tremendous growth in its tourism numbers. I’m glad to hear it although tourism alone is not enough to support New Mexico’s overall economy. We’re still not in the top-10 among US states according to CNBC, but hey, we’ll take good news where we can get it these days.

My family and I were going to have a New Mexico “stay-cation” over the recent Independence Day holiday. We had plans to head to Carlsbad Caverns with the kids to tour them and see the evening bat “show.” Unfortunately, as was documented late last year on this blog, the elevator at Carlsbad Caverns has been out of service. Recent news reports had indicated it was fixed, but a closer reading of these articles followed up by a call down to the Caverns led to my finding out that the working elevator is the freight elevator with half the capacity of the usual elevator which remains out of service.

In order to confirm this, I called down to the Caverns and, according to the ranger I talked to, the expected wait time for the elevator out of the caverns during what is obviously a very busy Independence Day weekend, was expected to be 2-3 hours. With three small children, that was a no-go, so my wife and I canceled Carlsbad and planned a last-second trip to Sedona, AZ (taking our tourism dollars with us).

Could you imagine a for-profit business letting the elevator go absent repairs for months on end? Carlsbad isn’t alone. The National Parks have a $11.9 billion maintenance backlog. Perhaps it is time to consider leveraging the private sector to manage these and other “crown jewels?”

Too bad President Obama didn’t tour the Caverns on a busy Holiday weekend with the rest of us “working stiffs,” perhaps he would have seen that federal management is not getting the job done….