The outdoor recreation industry in New Mexico has shown notable growth, contributing substantially to the state’s economy, according to the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The sector witnessed a 1.8% increase from 2021 to 2022, signaling a robust expansion in this field.
The report indicates that the outdoor recreation sector now adds $2.4 billion in value to New Mexico, accounting for 1.9% of the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This growth is not just in monetary terms but also in job creation, supporting nearly 28,000 jobs across the state.
This upward trend in the outdoor recreation economy aligns with the efforts initiated by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in 2019. The establishment of the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division (ORD) under her administration was a strategic move to diversify and strengthen the state’s economic landscape.
Since its inception, the ORD has been instrumental in channeling funds effectively into the sector. A total of $10 million has been invested in enhancing trails and infrastructure, pivotal for outdoor activities. These developments are not only improving the quality of outdoor experiences but also making them more accessible to the public.
In addition to infrastructure development, the ORD has been active in promoting equitable access to outdoor activities. Through the Outdoor Equity grants, the division has extended support to 181 organizations. This initiative has opened doors for over 58,000 youths, enabling them to participate in various recreational activities, thereby fostering a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts.
Acting New Mexico Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary Jon Clark emphasized the significance of these developments. He stated, “As the state continues to exceed previous years’ measurements of the outdoor recreation industry, it reinforces Gov. Lujan Grisham’s decision to identify the industry as a key sector for our state economy. Every corner of our state benefits from the overall efforts to bolster access to the outdoors for all New Mexicans. The outdoor recreation industry is a consistent economic and jobs driver, even in times of economic uncertainty.”
ORD Director Ana Karina Armijo highlighted the impact of the division’s initiatives, particularly the Trails+ grant program and the Outdoor Equity Fund. She noted, “The BEA data validates the ongoing efforts of New Mexico’s Outdoor Recreation Division to create jobs through the Trails+ grant program, support economic growth, and offer equitable access to the outdoors through the first-of-its-kind Outdoor Equity Fund. Based on the data, we can affirm these outdoor recreation-focused programs benefit all New Mexicans and outdoor recreation businesses throughout the state.”
The growth of the outdoor recreation industry in New Mexico is not just a testament to the state’s rich natural resources but also to the effective policies and initiatives that have been put in place. These efforts are creating a sustainable and inclusive environment for the industry to thrive.
The success of New Mexico’s outdoor recreation industry serves as a model for other states. The focus on equitable access and infrastructure development is ensuring that the benefits of this growth are widespread, reaching every corner of the state.
As New Mexico continues to invest in and nurture its outdoor recreation industry, it sets a precedent for economic resilience and diversification. The state’s approach demonstrates how strategic investments in natural resources and community involvement can lead to substantial economic and social benefits.
The growth of the outdoor recreation industry in New Mexico is a significant achievement, reflecting the state’s commitment to economic diversification, job creation, and equitable access to outdoor activities. This progress not only enhances the state’s economic profile but also enriches the quality of life for its residents.