Jemez Springs tourism burned by fire

Posted at: 06/23/2013 10:22 PM
By: Mike Anderson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Giggling Springs Hot Springs is just one of many Jemez Springs businesses hit hard.
Giggling Springs Hot Springs is just one of many Jemez Springs businesses hit hard.

Businesses in Jemez Springs say tourism is down, travelers have cancelled trips and streets are emptier than ever.

They think potential visitors were turned off by the Thompson Ridge fire and want them to know the town is open for business.

“We’re 80 percent down from a normal summer,” Giggling Springs Hot Springs co-owner Tanya Struble said. “The drought and the fire and now forest closure, it’s gonna hurt.”

The business is just one of many in Jemez Springs that’ve been hit hard by perceptions of the Thompson Ridge Fire.

“The road closed for a day and then we’re getting calls days later wondering if the road was still closed,” Struble said.

Restaurants have been hit just has hard as outdoor attractions.

“We’re probably at 50 percent in terms of our clientele,” Los Ojos Bar co-owner Brian Appell said.

The town’s mayor says reports made it seem like the fire hit Jemez Springs itself.

“The fire’s actually 15 miles north of here,” Mayor Edmond Temple said. “We really had hardly any smoke whatsoever.”

He describes the effects as a double whammy.

“The summer is really when they make their money,” Temple said.

Now, the stakes are high for a town even tourists can see is emptier than it should be.

“It’s pretty quiet which is shame because it’s great up here,” tourist Jerry Greenstein should be.

Struble says they don’t need to make a lot of money, but they need to make enough.

“We definitely need more people coming than are coming right now,” Struble said. “So yes, it could potentially be a make or break for us.”