Palo Duro Canyon visitors fed up with long lines

Dozens of cars line the curve at a complete stand-still at the Palo Duro Canyon State Park entrance.

Some visitors had so much time to spare at the gate entrance to the Palo Duro Canyon State Park, they actually stepped out of their vehicles.

They say the wait is becoming an inconvenience at their favorite state park, and with spring break, the park can expect up to 17,000 visitors.

Keith Ingram travels from Clovis, N.M., a nearly 100 mile drive but he said, lately it takes him the same amount of time to get into the park as it does to drive there.

"I've been coming to Palo Duro for over 30 years, and I love this place, but I am disgusted the last few times I've been here, I spend anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour."

Ingram said, he's made phone calls to state park officials, and he's even wrote a few emails. He said, park officials responded to his last email, and promised more than one lane would be open the next time, but that's not the case.

"It's next time, and well it's (lane) not, and you see the lines of cars, I just feel like they're abusing their visitors."

Kay Williams owns a state wide park pass, a $70 fee she pays once a year, but still has to wait in line.

"We are pretty much faced with this every time we are down here," Williams said. "I've been sitting in line for over an hour."

Williams said, she's suggested to park officials a lane solely for visitors who have year-around park passes. So far, nothing has been done.

Assistant Manager Nathan Londenberg said, the park is considering different options for those who have park passes, but there are issues the park must sort out first.

"One of the issues we may have is that we have a lot of people who come for the first time who may not realize that, 'Hey this is for park pass users,'" Londenberg said. "Whatever system we do come up with there's going to be some education involved where those people are going to have to be taught how to use it because they can't just swipe a card, we have to account all visitors into the park."

According to Londenberg park officials judge for themselves the appropriate time the second gate should be opened to vehicles. He said, the park is aware of the issue and is working with staff to help decrease the time vehicles spend at a stand-still.