Gallup City Council rejects transferring Red Rock Park to state

Gallup, New Mexico (AP) 12-07

Red Rock Park, which has changed hands between the state and the city of Gallup several times in the past three decades, is remaining in the city’s hands.

The city last year proposed turning the 640-acre area east of Gallup back to the state, at least in part because Galllup officials said they could not afford the money that needs to be put into improvements.

But City Attorney Dave Pederson told councilors that a proposed lease for Gallup to operate the park on behalf of the state would not save the city money.

The lease would not provide for the state to pay for requirements under the American for Disabilities Act, and the trade-off in operational expenses would be a wash, he said.

State Parks Director Dave Simon, who attended the council meeting, said his agency could not use previously appropriated money from the Legislature unless the state held the deed to the park.

Red Rock Park, with an elevation ranging from 6,600 to 7,000 feet, is marked by spectacular red sandstone cliffs framing it on three sides. The park has picnic areas, a campground with electrical and water hookups and restrooms and showers. Hiking and biking trails lead from the park.

It’s the site of the annual Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial each August and an annual hot air balloon rally.

City Councilor Pat Butler suggested Gallup keep the park because of possible business that could come from a proposed Navajo casino near Red Rock, while Councilor Allan Landavazo said he hated to give it up because “there’s so much we can do with it.”

Pederson said the area has changed hands four times between the state and the city since Red Rock opened as a park in 1975.“