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New Mexico offers grants to boost youth outdoor access

Hikers try the La Luz Trail in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, in the Cibola National Forest. (Albuquerque Journal)

Hikers try the La Luz Trail in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, in the Cibola National Forest. (Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico’s Outdoor Recreation Division for the first time is offering what it calls equity grants to local governments, tribes and nonprofit organizations to get more young people outside.

The Outdoor Equity Fund was created to foster stewardship for the state’s natural spaces and its cultural heritage particularly among low-income youth who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience the outdoors, officials said Monday in announcing the funding.

The grants will range from $1,500 to $15,000 for entities with a plan to educate underrepresented youth about climate change and the environment.

“With this grant program, the Outdoor Recreation Division is creating a way for communities across the state to get their kids outside and build access to New Mexico’s incredible natural resources,” Division Director Axie Navas said in a statement. “The mental and physical health benefits that come from getting into nature are now more important than ever before.”

The application deadline is Aug. 1. Those that apply also must include guidelines in their educational and recreation proposals that adhere to the state’s public health orders, such as limits on group sizes and social distancing.

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