Parks and recreation divisions earn state awards

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By Kirsten Laskey

There are sites and activities that are deemed unique to Los Alamos and embraced by locals. But now, it is more than just Los Alamos residents who are noticing these local gifts.

In fact, the New Mexico Recreation and Parks Association presented awards to the Los Alamos Recreation Division and the Parks Division during its annual conference in September.

The recreation division received the Aquatic Program of the Year award for its Pumpkin Splash activity while the parks division earned the Park/Trails/Bike Path award for its design and master plan for Camp May.

“We’re very proud and honored that ee our peers chose this program out of several that were submitted,” Dianne Marquez, recreation program and ice rink manager, said.

In response the park division’s award, Park Division Manager Dick McIntyre said, “the guys appreciate it. It’s acknowledgement of their work and the things they do.”

The Pumpkin Splash, Marquez said, involves throwing between 100-150 pumpkins into the pool. Young people dive into the pool, retrieve a pumpkin and are encouraged to decorate it.

The Pumpkin Splash will be held from 1-4:30 p.m. Sunday. Advanced tickets cost $6 and are required for participants. Tickets can be purchased at the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center.

“It’s just a fun activity,” Marquez said.

Camp May, McIntyre said, is located near the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area. It was built in the 1960s and it ‘s showing its age. McIntyre said plants are overgrown and restroom facilities that are not working.

Despite its current state, the parks division sees a diamond in the rough and started working on plans to make the camp sparkle again.

“We see it as an excellent opportunity to develop and bring people up to the area,” McIntyre said.

He added these plans include installing bathrooms, cleaning up the site and repairing the amphitheatre located on the campground.

Work on the campground is expected to occur in the spring.

The work will just address one area of the park, after completing it, the parks division staff will assess what to do next.

The parks and recreation divisions were not the only Los Alamos entities to be recognized by the state association. Marquez said several individuals and businesses earned citations for “outstanding contributions to the recreation and parks movement” in three different categories.

For instance, the Best Western Hilltop House received a citation in the community vendor category. Marquez explained the business supports the triathlon, duathlon and Little League either through monetary or in-kind donations. Marquez said the business was nominated “for all that they do.”

Also, Los Alamos Auxiliary Fire Brigade earned a citation in the community organization category. Marquez said in the past 14 years, the brigade has worked during the triathlon, fair and rodeo and kids’ triathlon. “They’re very much a central and vital part of this community,” she said.

Lastly, Dan Sena, owner of Baskin Robbins, received a citation in the individual category. Marquez said Sena has been a vendor at numerous events, gives monetary or in-kind donations and has worked as a coach. She added he “is very much involved in youth.” Additionally, “Dan will help where he can to support community events.”

The awards and citations were distributed during a parks and recreation meeting held Oct. 9.