Problems growing at popular New Mexico park, tourist attraction

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GRANTS, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s right next to the most iconic road in America and hundreds of people drive by it every day. Now, people who regularly visit this tourist attraction are worried about what travelers are seeing.

“It looked a lot better, and you see a lot of dead fish floating all the time,” said Santiago Ramos, who regularly feeds the ducks and geese at Riverwalk Park in Grants.

Ramos says over the past year, he’s noticed more trash filling the water, the water getting dirtier, and seen dozens of dead fish washing up along the shoreline.

Ramos is not the only one who has noticed the problems. “Very special to have right off of Route 66,” said Michele Milburn, who also frequents the park.

Every day, hundreds of people drive by the park located in the heart of Grants along Route 66. Milburn says even if visitors don’t stop, they’ll notice the problem. “It was smelling really bad,” said Milburn.

Despite promotional videos of the park shot several years ago, showing what appears to be much clearer water, the city of Grants says Riverwalk Park has never looked better. They insist nothing is wrong with the water, saying, sometimes fish simply die.

Regular visitors disagree. They want the city to clean up the water and take better care of all the animals that live there. “It’s gotten a lot worse than it has been,” said Milburn.

There’s a crew of about five people who say they try to catch the injured ducks themselves and help them, because they say Game and Fish and Animal Welfare aren’t really much help. “That’s why I take it as my responsibility to feed and take care of them, as much as I can,” said Ramos.

The group also says there used to be a lot more ducks and fish, but they’ve either flown away or died as the water got worse.

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