By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
Roosevelt County’s Oasis State Park may just be middle-aged, but that didn’t stop several regular park goers from celebrating the 75th anniversary of New Mexico State Parks with food, friends and fun at the park Saturday night.
Hot dogs, and a 75th anniversary birthday cake were served to those who gathered Saturday night, before a star party was planned late Saturday night.
“What we’re celebrating is New Mexico State Park’s 75th anniversary, which is actually Aug. 31,” Oasis State Park Manager Jim Whary said.
The New Mexico State Parks program began in late August of 1933.
“We are a small community, so there’s other events going on, so we are competing against those,” Whary said. “But tonight we have a great turnout.”
Portales resident Rosie Mathews doesn’t come to the park much, but she was excited about the possibility of seeing some night-sky stars.
“Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’re going to see any stars. I even brought two pairs of binoculars,” Matthews said. “I’d like to camp out here some night.”
But Whary wasn’t about to let everybody go home Saturday night without seeing stars in some form.
“In celebration (of the anniversary), we’re having a power point presentation of all the stars and the night sky,” Whary said. “(Nature) doesn’t always (cooperate), so we plan accordingly.”
There were also a large number of a group that calls themselves “Friends of Oasis” helping with Saturday night’s events.
“The Friends of Oasis (group) is very important to this whole park,” Whary said. “We only have a permanent staff of three people, and the FoO do help supplement events like this by serving food or doing whatever they can do to help us.”
Clovis resident Hershel Parker grew up about a mile away from the park and was serving up freshly grilled hot dogs Saturday night.
“I’ve known this place ever since I can remember. We came out here for all of our parties, and we want to keep the park open,” Parker said. “At that time, they didn’t have any water out here — it was just sand dunes and cottonwood trees.”
The land for Oasis State Park, 160 acres six miles north of Portales, was purchased by the state in 1961 and later renovated with an addition of 33 acres and a pond.