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NM Creates First-Ever Outdoor Equity Fund

By April 5, 2019September 29th, 2022Public Lands, Water & Wildlife, Democracy, Legislature

Governor Lujan Grisham has signed the bill to create an Outdoor Recreation Division and Outdoor Equity Fund (SB 462).

The equity fund is the first of its kind in the nation and will ensure our state’s young people have access to the activities and special places we market to tourists. That’s just one of the reasons this bill was one of CVNM’s top five legislative priorities this session.

Nearly 1,500 Conservation Voters like you sent messages to your legislators and Gov. Lujan Grisham over the last two months, urging their support. Wins like this don’t happen without you voicing your support – thank you!

It’s no accident that New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment. Not only are the landscapes of our state diverse and breathtaking to experience, but also indigenous and traditional communities remain closely connected to the land. Because of our pristine landscapes and cultural diversity, recreational opportunities abound on our public lands and could be more fully leveraged as a sustainable economic driver – and now our state has the tools it needs to make this a priority.

There is significant opportunity to boost our rural economies with the creation of the Outdoor Recreation Division that will work with local communities to leverage our public lands to better tap into the billion-dollar outdoor recreation industry — all while protecting traditional New Mexican land use practices.

The Outdoor Recreation Division will focus on the creation and growth of outdoor recreation-based small businesses across the state, attract industry and retailers to New Mexico, grow outdoor recreation infrastructure across the state, and promote the use and stewardship of New Mexico’s vast network of public lands, national forests, state parks, waters, rivers, mountains and trails.

New Mexico needs to ensure that our lands are protected and that we invest in them to diversify our economy. Right now, our outdoor recreation industry is a fraction of what it could be compared to neighboring states like Colorado. We need to do better – and now we can.

In addition to creating the Outdoor Recreation Division, the bill gives back to New Mexico’s youth. The Outdoor Equity Fund creates a state fund that benefits our low-income youth. It allows local governments, Native American communities and nonprofit organizations to apply for micro-grants to offset the costs of outdoor recreation and education programs. It engages our state’s youth in outdoor recreation activities on state parks, state trust land, federal public lands and waterways and other designated outdoor locations. It’s that simple. We’re so excited about opening up this opportunity for our state so that we can invest in and protect our public and sacred land and diversify our economy to be more sustainable.