NM hires first director of outdoor recreation - Albuquerque Journal

NM hires first director of outdoor recreation

Em102519e
Rafts with New Wave Rafting Co. leave John Dunn Bridge and head through the Taos Box in April this year. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – New Mexico now has its first director of outdoor recreation as part of a new economic development effort to promote the state’s mountains, rivers and trails.

Axie Navas, a journalist who led a 25-person team at Outside magazine, began work Monday as head of the new Office of Outdoor Recreation.

“I think New Mexico is doing this at a really important time,” Navas said in an interview. “There’s a lot of consensus nationally that outdoor recreation is a powerful economic tool.”

She takes over a division charged with boosting outdoor-based tourism and recreation, promoting environmental preservation and recruiting out-of-state outdoor businesses to New Mexico. It’s part of the Economic Development Department.

“I’m intensely passionate about the outdoors – protecting our wild places, and getting more people of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs outside,” Navas said in a written statement.

She will work with Peter Mitchell, who has worked for years in economic development and served as the point person for the new office since its inception in July.

The state’s $7 billion budget plan for this year includes about $200,000 to launch the outdoor recreation division. The Tourism Department also received $250,000 for a study on developing the outdoor economy.

Navas said she grew up in Colorado hiking, biking and skiing in the Rockies – which extend into northern New Mexico – and she’s eager to help other people enjoy the outdoors.

She said she would advocate for environmental conservation and respect for tribal lands, in addition to economic development.

New Mexico is the fifth-largest state by land area and home to five national forests; 17 national parks and monuments; 35 state parks, 20 with lakes; and 25 wilderness areas, according to a state marketing campaign.

The outdoor division was established this year in Senate Bill 462, signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in April.

1561882
Axie Navas, New Mexico’s director of outdoor recreation

“We are building on what we have and creating job opportunities in a field where this state can, should and will lead regionally and indeed nationally,” Lujan Grisham said in a written statement.

The legislation passed the Senate 38-0 and the House 52-14.

Supporters said New Mexico had untapped potential for economic growth driven by the state’s natural beauty. Opponents said the state could continue to promote the outdoors without creating a new government office.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
LFC report: Changing pretrial detention won’t lower crime
ABQnews Seeker
  A new report by Legislative ...   A new report by Legislative Finance Committee analysts found that low arrest, prosecution and conviction rates may have more to do with the ...
2
Vax on, vax off: City reverses course on policy
ABQnews Seeker
Citing a recent U.S. Supreme Court ... Citing a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, the city of Albuquerque will not proceed as planned with its COVID-19 vaccine-or-testing requirement for employees. Mayor ...
3
Jicarilla Apache to lease water to New Mexico
ABQnews Seeker
The Jicarilla Apache Nation will lease ... The Jicarilla Apache Nation will lease water to the state of New Mexico for endangered species and water deliveries, under an agreement announced Thursday ...
4
Governor backs bill to exempt Social Security benefits from ...
ABQnews Seeker
A plan to exempt Social Security ... A plan to exempt Social Security benefits from taxation in New Mexico could be picking up steam after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham threw her ...
5
Training trip takes Thunderbirds to New Mexico, Arizona
ABQnews Seeker
The Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force's ... The Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force's aerial demonstration squadron, have begun a month-long training trip to New Mexico and Arizona in preparation for their ...
6
For second day in a row, NM sets record ...
ABQnews Seeker
For the second day in a ... For the second day in a row, New Mexico set a record for the most new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday as the omicron ...
7
Emptying the Notebook: Return of longball gives Lobos a ...
ABQnews Seeker
Here are some extra notes, quotes, ... Here are some extra notes, quotes, videos, stats and other odds & ends from Wednesday's Lobo basketball game at Colorado State
8
Lobos throw scare into heavily-favored CSU Rams
ABQnews Seeker
Down another starter on the road, ... Down another starter on the road, Lobos play an inspired game but come up short against the Colorado State Rams on Wednesday night.
9
NM Kids Count says pandemic undermined child well-being
ABQnews Seeker
Report says Hispanic famialies are hit ... Report says Hispanic famialies are hit the hardest