Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst announced today that Christy Tafoya will serve as the Director of the State Parks Division, effective immediately. Tafoya is the first woman to fill the top leadership role since State Parks began in 1933.
“Director Tafoya has a proven track record of providing safe, fun recreational and educational opportunities for the public,” said Secretary Cottrell Propst. “Her background in resource protection and programming will dovetail with our Governor’s commitment to outdoor recreation.”
“I am very excited to continue to fill this important role and to work with our exceptional State Park staff to increase offerings for our visitors and protect park resources,” said Ms. Tafoya. “I am grateful to Governor Lujan Grisham for the opportunity to lead our parks into the future.”
An archaeologist by training, Ms. Tafoya began her career with State Parks when she was selected as the first State Parks Archaeologist over 20 years ago. She held several different positions during her parks career and managed the statewide Outdoor Classroom Program, which has provided hundreds of thousands of students with meaningful experiences in State Parks.
State Parks has seen 5 million visitors per year and has had an excellent track record of great customer service. Ms. Tafoya was vice chair of the Rio Grande Trail Commission, which designated 86.65 miles of Rio Grande Trail statewide. She also serves on the executive board of the National Association of State Parks Directors, representing six southwestern states.
Tafoya holds a Bachelor of Arts from Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, VA, double majoring in history and historic preservation. She received a Master of Arts in anthropology in 1997 from New Mexico State University.
State Parks was founded in 1933 in conjunction with the Civilian Conservation Corps efforts during the Great Depression. The State Parks system began with four parks, and today there are 34 parks encompassing 19 lakes and 196,677 acres of land and water.