Outdoor Economic News

News 2018-05-04T06:52:53+00:00
Create Office of Outdoor Recreation

New Mexico Outdoor Economics Conference
Welcomes More than 150 Participants to Las Cruces
Speakers from Seven States and Across New Mexico Convene to
Discuss Innovative Strategies to Grow the State’s Outdoor Recreation Economy

CONTACT:           Nathan Small, New Mexico Wild
(484) 639-4534 | nathansmall@nmwild.org

Carrie Hamblen, Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce
(575) 323-1575 | carrie@locallascruces.com

LAS CRUCES, NM – Business leaders, directors from respective Western states’ outdoor recreation offices, and elected officials, including two U.S. Senators, are amongst the speakers at the first-ever New Mexico Outdoor Economics Conference, today and tomorrow in Las Cruces. The goal of the conference is to advance economic development strategies and opportunities to grow New Mexico jobs connected to protected public lands and outdoor recreation.

Conference attendance is expected to exceed 150 participants representing at least seven states. At least a dozen cities, counties, and tribes from across New Mexico are sending representatives to contribute to the discussion and bring back new ideas for their communities.

On Thursday, panelists are examining outdoor recreation and public lands marketing successes; business opportunities connected to the outdoor recreation industry; the experiences of State Offices of Outdoor Recreation; and how protected public lands benefit local businesses.

On Friday, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich will deliver the keynote address on the inextricable link between conservation and growing the Western economy. The Senator will also unveil his legislation to establish White Sands National Monument as a National Park and Ray Rasker of Headwaters Economics will present the results of a new study examining the economic benefits that could result from re-designating White Sands. Also on Friday, panelists will discuss growing outdoor industry manufacturing jobs and what is needed for Dona Ana County to take part.

“Outdoor recreation in New Mexico, much of it around protected public lands, is a big driver of the state’s economy. But there is work to be done to ensure that New Mexico continues to be competitive with neighboring states and attracts outdoor industry companies,” said Cailin O’Brien-Feeney, State and Local Policy Manager for the Outdoor Industry Association. “The potential in New Mexico, which already boasts 99,000 outdoor recreation-related jobs, is unquestionable.”

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, which surrounds Las Cruces, has enjoyed a huge increase in visitors since being designated a national monument in May 2014. By September 2016, visitation to the Monument had increased by 152 percent. Many local businesses have been successful in translating increased visitation to the monument to increased business profits.

“I’m thrilled that Las Cruces is hosting this conference,” said Ken Miyagishima, Mayor of Las Cruces, who is also a speaker at the conference. “Our city has found that promoting our protected public lands as a community asset also benefits our local economy. We are excited to share our story, learn from others, and continue taking steps forward.”

One key point of the conference is the role of state offices of outdoor recreation, which are being created in states across the West, typically housed within state economic development departments. Currently, New Mexico lacks such an office but several New Mexico state legislators would like to change that.

“It [creating the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation] was a game changer for Utah. It further reinforced the importance of the outdoor industry, public lands, tourism, and the significant economic impact they all have on our state,” said Tom Adams, Director of the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, the first office of its kind to open in the U.S. “Like New Mexico, Utah is known for its remarkable natural beauty. New Mexico also has an opportunity to share that natural beauty, draw businesses and tourists, and encourage a healthy, active lifestyle.”

According to an Outdoor industry Association 2017 report, the outdoor recreation economy in Colorado and Utah generated $28.0 billion and $12.3 billion, respectively, in consumer spending. For the same period, the outdoor recreation economy in New Mexico generated $9.9 billion.

For more information on the New Mexico Outdoor Economics Conference, including background on the speakers and the schedule, please visit OutdoorEconomicsNM.com. If you’re not able to attend, most of the Conference will be broadcast via Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/organmountains.


Create Office of Outdoor Recreation

What do Colorado, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, North Carolina, Oregon and Montana have in common? They all enjoy beautiful public lands and have created a state “Office of Outdoor Recreation.” Unfortunately, New Mexico is one of the few Western states without a state Office of Outdoor Recreation despite the fact that our outdoor recreation industry generates $9.9 billion in consumer spending annually and supports 99,000 jobs, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.


Outdoor Economics conference to highlight opportunities

In New Mexico, our livelihoods are rooted in our open spaces. Our public lands are where locals and visitors alike go to fill their freezers with elk or wild turkey, camp under the stars, bike on a challenging single track, or cast a fly in a trout stream. These recreation activities that are beloved traditions for so many of us in New Mexico are also major drivers for our local economies.

Last year, the Outdoor Industry Association reported that the outdoor recreation economy directly contributes $9.9 billion in consumer spending annually and employs 99,000 people in New Mexico. We have so much room to grow this industry in our state, and can do so by learning from success stories in our own and other Western communities. That’s why I am so excited to attend and welcome the New Mexico Outdoor Economics Conference to Las Cruces on Thursday and Friday, May 3 and 4.


Looking to benefit more from public lands

A report Thursday by the National Park Service found that more than 2 million people visited national park units in New Mexico last year, spending $116 million in the state. That produced 1,720 jobs and an overall impact to the state’s economy of $141.6 million.

And, those numbers are only for the seven sites managed by the National Parks Service: Carlsbad Caverns National Park; Aztec Ruins, Bandelier, Capulin Volcano, El Malpais, El Morro, Fort Union, Gila Cliff Dwellings, Petroglyph, Salinas Pueblo Missions and White Sands national monuments; Chaco Culture, Pecos and Manhattan Project national historical parks and Valles Caldera National Preserve. It doesn’t include the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and other public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Clearly, outdoor tourism is big business in New Mexico.


Sharing the economic successes of protected public lands

Since the designation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in May 2014, our incredible city has led the way in demonstrating the connection between local businesses, economic development, and protecting public lands.

In addition to sharing our successes with our legislators in our nation’s capital, the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce has been honored with speaking to chambers of commerce in California and Maine, sharing our stories at conferences in Las Vegas, Wyoming, and Washington D.C., and talking with numerous communities throughout the west on creative ways to highlight national monuments.


Advocates tout impact of NM’s outdoor economy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In New Mexico, the outdoors is big business. Outdoor recreation accounts for $9.9 billion in consumer spending, $2.8 billion in wages and salaries, $623 million in state and local tax revenue and 99,000 direct jobs, according to a 2017 report from the Outdoor Industry Association. Those numbers reflect spending and employment associated with a broad range of activities, everything from wildlife viewing to skateboarding to “running 3+ miles.”

Then there’s impact associated with specific locations. Across Doña Ana and El Paso counties, the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument supports about $10 million in economic activity, $570,000 in state and local tax revenue and 100 jobs on an annual basis, according to a study commissioned by the Partnership for Responsible Business and the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce.


New Mexico Outdoor Economics Conference Coming to Las Cruces

LAS CRUCES – The business of public lands will be at the forefront of an economics convention being held in southern New Mexico. The New Mexico Outdoor Economics Conference, May 3 and 4 in Las Cruces, will include panel discussions about community programs around the country that promote nearby public lands and will include directors of outdoor recreation offices from multiple Western states as well as leaders in the outdoor recreation industry.