The U.S. Economic Development Administration announced last week that it
awarded $1.985 million to the Outdoor Recreation Division to supercharge
the state’s outdoor recreation economy.
The outdoor recreation funds are part of $7.9 million awarded to New
Mexico to accelerate travel, tourism. and outdoor recreation. ORD will
oversee 25 percent of this federal stimulus funding, targeting it to
specific outdoor recreation economy recovery efforts. The remainder will
be administered by the state Tourism Department.
The EDA funds come at an opportune time. The outdoor recreation economy,
which was growing at the second fastest rate in the U.S. in 2019, was
hit hard by the economic crisis caused by Covid-19. In 2020, the outdoor
economy in every U.S. state and the District of Columbia experienced a
drop in its outdoor economy, according to recently released data from
the Bureau of Economic Analysis . In New Mexico, employment dropped
21.9% in 2020, though 2021 is already exhibiting signs of strong growth
, especially in key activities like RVing, boating and fishing,
ATVing, and bicycling.
The $1.9 million enables ORD to provide crucial marketing, branding, and
other business support to the companies and communities that suffered
the most during the pandemic. Our grant application to EDA proposed
dividing the funding into two major categories: community and business
support. Both impact areas are designed to build off one another,
raising the profile of New Mexico’s outdoor recreation economy, then
complementing that higher profile with technical assistance for
businesses to gain the professional skills needed to capitalize on that
With the investment, we plan to launch outdoor recreation business
workshops, a robust accelerator program, an outdoor industry business
summit, and higher education partnerships that teach students the skills
they need to work in the outdoor industry. ORD also plans to administer
about $900,000 of the funding as competitive marketing collateral grants
to communities and eligible nonprofits.
Stay tuned for further details at NMoutside.com .