Located at the southeastern tip of the state, Carlsbad is a frequent stop for those touring the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. While you’re there, be sure to take in the Pecos River. For over a century and a half, this waterway has been vital for farming and cattle raising and is the epicenter for various leisure activities.
PECOS RIVER — THE Only RIVER THAT INTERSECTS ITSELF
The Pecos holds the unique distinction of being the only river to intersect itself. How can this be? Back in 1890, agriculturalists and ranchers built a wooden flume across the water to channel it over a steep incline for irrigation. Due to frequent storm damage, the flume was remade in concrete in 1903. It held the record as the world’s biggest concrete construction at the time and even earned a spot in Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
RIVER WATER UNCOVERS HIDDEN RICHES
Though the Pecos River water is alkaline, it’s not undrinkable and it can be used for irrigation. For the majority of its 900-mile journey from the lower slopes of the Sangre de Cristo mountains eastward to Santa Fe, until its confluence with the Rio Grande, the river is generally narrow, not very deep, and is salty. These salts are remnants from the sedimentary deposits of the ancient Permian Sea that previously engulfed this region.
FIRST DISCOVERY OF POTASH IN the U.S.
Among the various salts is potassium, in the form of potash. It was unearthed in Eddy County in 1925, becoming the first potash ever discovered in the United States. The find played a pivotal role in spurring on the fertilizer industry and Carlsbad’s own agricultural scene. Though its economic prominence peaked in the 1960s, mining is still ongoing. In addition to this, Carlsbad’s economy has been bolstered by oil and gas extraction, handling of nuclear materials, industrial manufacturing, tourist activities, and agricultural pursuits.
CARLSBAD’S ORIGIN: FROM EDDY TO MODERN DAY
Founded by rancher Charles Eddy in 1888, the city went through a renaming to Carlsbad in 1899. This was primarily because Eddy found mineral springs whose healing properties mimicked those of the famous Karlsbad spa in what is today the Czech Republic. This increased the community’s attractiveness, helping it to evolve sufficiently to be designated a city by 1918.
KNOWN AS THE “PECOS’ CROWN JEWEL”
Carlsbad may describe itself as a modest-sized town, but it holds the position as New Mexico’s 10th most populous city. This is quite an accomplishment, considering the existence of 500 other officially incorporated municipalities in the state.
REMOVED FROM THE HUSTLE BUT ACCESSIBLE
Although the nearest sizable city, El Paso, Texas, is a 140-mile drive westward, air travel is available from Carlsbad to Albuquerque and Dallas-Fort Worth. As of November 2023, however, the flight route will change to connect to Phoenix instead of Dallas-Fort Worth for additional travel options.
IS CARLSBAD AN IDEAL SPOT FOR YOUR GOLDEN YEARS?
Well-known for its remarkable caverns, Carlsbad draws a large number of tourists, but is it a fitting place for one’s retirement years? A considerable segment thinks so, with more than 15% of its inhabitants being 65 or older. If you lean more towards a moderate-sized educational town than a bustling city, you’ll find a vibrant retiree community here. Facilities include two senior community centers, a variety of volunteer avenues, and plenty of options for outdoor activities like golf, hiking, fishing, skiing, and water-based sports. You can also take continuing educational classes at Southeast New Mexico College in Carlsbad.
FOUR SEASONS WITHOUT THE EXTREMES
While categorized as a desert region, Carlsbad features four distinct but mild seasons, generally devoid of snow, extreme cold, or heavy rainfall. The climate remains temperate all year long, with around 350 days graced by sunshine. Ideal times for a visit are mid-April to early June, before the onset of summer heat, and late September up to Thanksgiving.
If you intend to merely explore, Carlsbad offers a host of attractions. Learn more about this exciting community here.
As you dig deeper into the lesser-known facets of the city, you might just find yourself contemplating a longer stay, perhaps even establishing roots.
THIS STORY SPONSORED BY THE CITY OF CARLSBAD
Posted by Ruidoso.com