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ABQ Parks

The entrance to Wells Park in Albuquerque, taken on Saturday, June 3. 

Lots of parks, little maintenance

Albuquerque parks ranked 23 by the Trust for Public Land, 11 places higher than the prior year. Albuquerque scored a 61.1 out of 100 due to the number and size of the parks, according to The Trust for Public Land, rather than the maintenance of them. 

The Trust for Public Land is an organization that works to create parks and protect land. They have been ranking parks for over a decade.

The Trust for Public Land ranks parks by 14 categories. These include acreage, investment, amenities, access and equity. Albuquerque parks had the highest ranking in access with over 466 parks. However, the maintenance of the parks was not a factor listed in the ranking.

University of New Mexico graduate and Urban to Wild coordinator, Rachel Swanteson-Franz, said that the lack of maintenace is mainly due to limited funding that goes towards the parks.

“Although we have access to parks, limited government funding (i.e government bonds) and job opportunities make it challenging to maintain and provide adequate support for parks – hindering their upkeep,” Swanteson-Franz said.

Albuquerque mother, Sidney Salazar, said she appreciates her neighborhood parks and will often take on the responsibility of maintenance herself when she visits.

“I want a park that is clean, welcoming, and safe for everyone and I try to make that possible every chance I get when visiting a park,” Salazar said.

Swanteson-Franz accredited this jump in our rankings to the 30 by 30 initiative, which was an executive order by Governor Michelle Lujan Grishman calling for New Mexico to preserve and protect its lands and waters.

“The 30 by 30 goal of conserving 30% of lands and waters by 2030 addresses crucial challenges like climate change, water preservation, wildlife protection and scenic beauty. It also promotes inclusive access to public lands, gains support from resource-dependent communities and lowers the risk of future pandemics,” Swanteson-Franz said.

The value of the parks, Salazar said, is rooted in community.

“I enjoy the city parks because they offer a break from the stresses that exist in the world and give a sense of community and entertainment for my children and me,” Salazar said.

Weston Quintana is a freelance photographer for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @wes_jpg 

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Weston Quintana

 Weston Quintana is a freelance reporter and photographer for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted on Twitter @wesss_jpg 

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