On Wednesday afternoon, a small ceremony at the Carlsbad Fire Department honored a young lady who helped save lives in Carlsbad. Rainelle Ruiz woke up early in the morning of Nov. 29. She looked out of her bedroom window and saw a fire across the street. According to fire department reports, a vehicle had caught fire, causing the tires to explode. The fire had spread to the garage. Rainelle woke her parents, who called 911. Her parents ran across the street to warn and wake the neighbors, who were then able to get out of the house. Members of the fire department responded quickly enough to contain the fire to the garage and a small portion of the house. There were no injuries.
Rainelle’s quick thinking and response saved lives, and she received an honorary certificate, a city pin and a special fire department helmet on Wednesday. We enjoyed getting to meet with Rainelle and members of her family and personally thank them.
It is Spring Break for parts of Texas, and we are seeing a large number of visitors at Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park. This is, of course, a very welcome addition for our tourism industry, but the parks are still facing some COVID-19 limitations. Specifically, limitations on how many people can use the Caverns elevator at once have led to lengthier wait times when leaving the underground. This has also led to longer lines for those waiting to enter the caverns.
To try to better accommodate visitors, Carlsbad Caverns National Park has shifted into an online reservation mode, beginning this Friday. According to the Caverns web page, this reservation is required for selecting an entry time. Entrance tickets will still need to be purchased at the visitor’s center. For reservations, please visit https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/234637/ticket/10086811. This will give visitors some advance information about when they can get into the park.
The park has also extended its “hike out” hours for visitors who do not want to wait in the elevator line to exit the cavern between March 22 and March 28. Hike Out hours have been extended to 3:30 p.m., but this is not recommended for visitors with heart or respiratory conditions. For more information on current park procedures, please visit https://www.nps.gov/cave/planyourvisit/covidoperations.htm.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is also seeing a high number of visitors right now, but doesn’t face some of the same challenges as the Caverns. They do have to deal with the wind.
We can help our two national parks out by being as welcoming as possible to visitors coming through town. Please help direct our visitors to the Living Desert, 6 Mile Dam, Sitting Bull Falls, the Cottonwood Day Use area, Brantley Lake, Rattlesnake Springs and, of course, the beautiful Lake Carlsbad Beach Area. We are so fortunate to have a community so close to so much natural beauty,
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway