The governor is backing legislation that would create a new department dedicated to promoting New Mexico’s outdoor recreation opportunities.
“We can do better by making sure all the hidden gems in every single community are identified,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said.
The bill would create the office as part of the Economic Development Department. It would handle tasks like developing promotional campaigns and helping communities apply for the funds to establish trails and campsites.
The bill’s backers say it will boost outdoor tourism, both from New Mexicans and out-of-state visitors. The cost would be $1.5 million. However, others, like Republican Rep. Rod Montoya, say this is an area already covered by existing departments and too much money to spend.
“If we want to increase funding for this purpose that makes sense, but to add a layer of bureaucracy that doesn’t currently exist that works out of the governor’s office, that doesn’t make sense,” Rep. Montoya, R-Farmington, said.
That bill is sponsored by four Democrats and one Republican.