When New Mexico closed all their state parks to overnight camping back in mid-March 2020 due to Covid-19, a lot of questions were raised about the annual camping passes.
For those of you who aren’t aware, New Mexico has a great deal on their camping passes for state parks. You can purchase an annual pass for $180 (NM residents) or $225 (out-of-state residents) that allows you to camp in all the state parks for a greatly reduced fee. For example, a site with water and electricity is usually $14 (still a bargain), but with the pass it’s only $4. Dry camping sites are usually $10, but with the pass they’re free.
The pass is good for at least twelve months. The trick is to purchase your pass early in the month, because it’s good through the END of the same month in the following year. If you purchase your pass on November 1, 2020, it’s good through November 30, 2021, giving you thirteen months of discounted camping.
Our annual pass is good through November 2020, but with the shut-down in March, we were unable to use it until the parks reopened to campers on October 1. We had paid $225 for the pass since we were Texas residents at the time we purchased it. Needless to say, we felt we were due a refund.
When the park reopening were announced, the notice said that annual passes would be extended but did not provide details.
Yesterday we spoke to one of the rangers here at Pancho Villa State Park, and he confirmed that the passes are indeed being extended. He said that if you purchased your pass after MARCH 2019, it would automatically be extended by six months. He said that there was nothing we needed to do to get the extension. He also said that if we used the pass when making reservations on the Reserve America website to just continue using the current pass number.
This was great news for us since we are now New Mexico residents and are allowed to use the parks for camping. However I’m not sure how the extension applies to out-of-state residents who are still not allowed to camp here, even with a pass they may have purchased prior to the shut-down.
So now our pass is good through May 2021, and we plan to use it as often as possible!
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Safe travels, or happy hunkering down!!