Open for adventure: New Mexico trust lands

New Mexico has become a pioneer in developing state trust lands for outdoor lovers. ‘Open for Adventure‘ elevates and advances the state’s vision of uniting our incredible lands with education experiences for the next generation.”  –Axie Navas, Director of Outdoor Recreation for the Economic Development Department, New Mexico

The New Mexico State Land office’s new Open for adventure campaign invites more people to share in the experience of recreating on the more than nine million of acres of land in state trust.  The campaign includes an initiative to provide free access for fifth graders and their families to explore their land.  Normally a recreational access permit costs $35.  Commissioner Stephanie Garcia spreads the news in this very brief video:

State trust lands were granted when new states joined the Union to generate funding to support the public education system.  New Mexico’s land produces an extraordinary amount of revenue, mostly from oil and gas leases.  The Open for adventure campaign marks a diversifying of land valuation, recognizing outdoor recreation as an emerging economic force and also seeing the land as an educational resource itself and a basis for experiential learning.

The full press release from the NM Land Commissioner is copied below, and here are some additional resources:

New Mexico held its second annual Outdoor Economics Conference this October in Silver City:
https://outdooreconomicsnm.com/outdoor-news/

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s report on aligning state land trust activities with the economic futures of western communities, and enhancing the decision-making environment for trust management, provides additional background:
https://www.lincolninst.edu/sites/default/files/pubfiles/state-trust-lands-in-the-west-updated-full.pdf

Maps of New Mexico State Trust Lands:
https://www.nmstatelands.org/maps-gis/interactive-maps/

We did a post on this website this past Spring on the joys of “Bike-IN Landscapes”:
https://bikeinitiative.org/2019/03/11/bike-in-landscapes-bikepacking-nm-and-the-wild-us/

And another post on New Mexico’s leadership in facilitating safe experiences outdoors:
https://bikeinitiative.org/2019/02/08/new-mexico-a-leader-in-great-outdoors/

FULL PRESS RELEASE is below:

————–

Stephanie Garcia Richard, Land Commissioner
State of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2019

Contact:
Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications
505.470.2965
aposs@slo.state.nm.us<mailto:aposs@slo.state.nm.us>

State Land Office Launches “Open for Adventure” Outdoor Recreation Campaign

Includes Partnership with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Hiring of Outdoor Recreation Specialist, and Launch of Online Application Portal

SANTA FE, NM – Commissioner Stephanie Garcia today announced the launch of the Land Office’s outdoor recreation campaign, “Open for Adventure.” The announcement was made in partnership with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and Pojoaque Valley Intermediate School. Thanks to a partnership with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, the Land Office is now offering free recreational access permits to New Mexico 5th graders and their families.

[cid:image003.png@01D5A07F.52AA7050]<https://youtu.be/wnMZMTg1nVY>

The “Open for Adventure” campaign launch also includes the creation of a new outdoor recreation specialist position to coordinate efforts at the Land Office. It is the first time that a position has existed at the Land Office that will be solely dedicated to expanding, developing, promoting, and stewarding outdoor recreation on about nine million acres of state trust land.

“New Mexico is at a unique position to significantly increase opportunities for outdoor recreation across the state. We now have the first Director of the Division of Outdoor Recreation at the Economic Development Department, we have outfitters and companies ready to invest and do the work, and we have the Equity Fund, which is a game changer for improving the quality of life for kids,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said. “Through our partnership with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, we hope to give kids and their families access to explore and seek new adventures in New Mexico that they may not have done before.”

For the first time in history, recreational access permits for state trust land access can be processed completely online at https://OpenForAdventure.nmstatelands.org. Applicants previously had to fill out paperwork and make a payment at the State Land Office or mail an application and check to the office.

“Under Commissioner Garcia Richard’s leadership, New Mexico has become a pioneer in developing state trust lands for outdoor lovers. ‘Open for Adventure’ elevates and advances the state’s vision of uniting our incredible lands with education experiences for the next generation,” Axie Navas, the first Director of Outdoor Recreation for the Economic Development Department, said of the Land Office’s campaign.

“The New Mexico Wildlife Federation believes that encouraging more of our children to spend time outdoors supports our goals. The mission of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation is to inspire New Mexicans to conserve landscapes, watersheds and wildlife for our children’s future,” Jesse Deubel, Executive Director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, added. “Our state trust lands are managed to support our youth by generating revenue for public schools. The ‘Open for Adventure’ program extends our students’ learning experience out onto our magnificent state lands.”

Recreation permits will be free for 5th graders and their families but are typically $35 annually from the Land Office. The permit will allow recreational access for hiking, climbing, and other activities on state trust land.

Pojoaque Valley students in Abel Acosta’s 5th grade classroom were provided the first permit applications. They also received information about some of the current outdoor recreation opportunities on state trust land<http://www.nmstatelands.org/resources/recreational-access/recreational-areas/>, including the Mystery Stone, the Luera Mountains, the Melrose Trap birdwatching area, and many more.

The outdoor recreation specialist position will be tasked with finding new opportunities for recreation on state trust land, including opportunities for photography, climbing and bouldering, hiking, cycling. The State Land Office has made an offer to fill the position.

The goal of the broader campaign is to focus on these new opportunities, partner with outfitters or businesses where possible, as well as to increase the revenue brought into the Land Office from these activities.

“We know that outdoor recreation is a multi-billion dollar industry, and the Land Office recently announced that we raised a billion dollars for the first time,” Garcia Richard added. “With a talented person in this new position, and a truly focused effort on marketing and lifting up the vast beauty that New Mexico and our outdoor spaces offer, I’m hopeful that we won’t have to rely on just one billion dollar industry to support our public schools, universities, and hospitals.”

Oil, gas, and mineral production, ranching and farming, outdoor recreation, and commercial development on State Trust Lands support public schools, seven universities, New Mexico Military Institute, New Mexico School for the Deaf, New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired,  three hospitals, correctional facilities, water conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.  In fiscal year 2019, the State Land Office collected $1 billion from lease payments, oil and gas lease sale earnings, rights-of-way, permits, interest, fees, and oil, gas and mineral royalties.

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