Tourists enjoy holiday weekend at Elephant Butte Lake

Visitors don't seem fazed by extreme drought

Hundreds enjoy Elephant Butte Lake on Memorial Day

ELEPHANT BUTTE, N.M. - Over the past few months, irrigation officials have forecast this as the worst drought year ever for New Mexico. That didn't stop thousands of people from visiting Elephant Butte Lake this Memorial Day weekend.

For the past few years, the water level at the lake has dropped.

People came out in droves over the holiday weekend for fun on the water, delicious food and quality time with family and friends.

Visitors told ABC-7 it's a great vacation spot.

"Just hanging out, boating, skiing, playing on the tube, taking the kids out, hanging out on the water," said Cody Sutton, visiting from Albuquerque.

From the rings around the edge of the lake, it's apparent the water level has dropped dramatically over the years.

The lake supplies water for southern New Mexico and El Paso. This year, irrigation officials said there won't be much to release.

Vacationers at the lake didn't seem to mind.

"Water's not going to stop me from coming out and enjoying the family and friends and the dogs," said Christina Boozer, visiting from El Paso.

"I think if the water level drops, we'll still come. This is a nice place to hang out," Sutton said.

Neal Brown, owner of Lago Rico Inc. and several marinas around the lake, said he's seen a bigger turnout this year.

"It's been terrific. We've had a great weekend. We've had a lot of people. A lot of people think that if the lake's down you can't come out, but when the water's low, there's still so much water here that it's still the biggest place to come." he said.

Brown hopes this is the beginning of a busy summer season.

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