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Restored CCC lodging offers visitors a different view of Elephant Butte

Visitors to the Elephant Butte Dam Site can spend time relaxing on the lodges veranda or a cabin porch. The cabins provide a great view of the lakes namesake, Elephant Butte. (KARL MOFFATT/FOR THE JOURNAL)

History, hot springs and fantastic fishing make a stay in the lodge or cabins at Elephant Butte’s Dam Site a great spring getaway.

“We absolutely loved staying here,” said Brenda Provins of LaPeer, Mich., who spent six weeks with her husband staying in one of the Dam Site’s recently restored historic cottages. “It was a great vacation.”

Visitors to the Dam Site also can spend a night in one of eight well-appointed rooms within the historic lodge or rent one of the rock cabins overlooking the lake formed behind the imposing dam. The cabins were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Neal Brown is president of Lago Rico Inc., which operates the Dam Site lodging and three marinas on the lake under license with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

historic buildings since taking over the operation from New Mexico State Parks in 2015.

“It’s been a labor of love,” he says of his efforts to restore and improve the accommodations offered at the Dam Site. “But it’s worth it to preserve one of the prettiest places in the Southwest.”

Visitors relaxing on the lodge’s veranda or a cabin porch are afforded a great view of Elephant Butte.

And it’s just a quick drive down the lake’s edge to fish for bass and other species, especially during the spring when angling conditions improve.

Above the lodge and cabins, guests will find a park constructed by CCC workers featuring barbecue grills and shelters with even more great views of the lake.

Evidence of the CCC handiwork during the Great Depression can be seen everywhere at the Dam Site, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The CCC was a Depression-era government program that provided unemployed men jobs and housing in work camps around the country. There are many such sites in New Mexico. For more information, visit the state historian’s website, newmexicohistory.org.

Guests at the Dam Site will find plenty to do in the area.

In nearby Truth or Consequences, visitors can bask in the waters of natural hot springs offered at several establishments.

The city also boasts one of the state’s oldest and best steakhouses, plenty of great shopping and the Geronimo Springs Museum.

The nearby city of Elephant Butte caters to anglers and offers many different access points to the lake throughout the state park.

A drive around the surrounding countryside reveals miles of remote desert and expansive scenery in every direction.

The federal Bureau of Reclamation operates the dam and is pleased with the restoration work Brown is doing to the historic structures.

“He has taken on a lot of this work on his own, invested a lot and is doing a fantastic job there,” said Mary Carlson of the Public Affairs Office of the federal Bureau of Reclamation in Albuquerque.

Those interested in helping with the restoration cause need only rent a room at the lodge. The dam site also offers campsites for recreational vehicles. For more information and reservations, visit www.thedamsite.com.

Karl Moffatt is a longtime New Mexico journalist and avid outdoorsman who posts regularly on his blog at www.outdoorsnm.com

The cabins provide a great view of the lakes namesake, Elephant Butte. (KARL MOFFATT/FOR THE JOURNAL)


 

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