Heinrich: Outdoor Recreation Is An Economic Force In New Mexico

New report shows outdoor recreation economy in New Mexico contributes $9.9 billion in consumer spending annually, 99,000 jobs

View from Wild Rivers Recreation Area in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. (Chronicle file photo)

Ahead of Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s visit to New Mexico this week, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), co-chair of the Senate Outdoor Recreation Caucus, highlighted the strength of New Mexico’s outdoor recreation economy. According to a new report released today by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), the outdoor recreation economy directly contributes $9.9 billion in consumer spending annually and employs 99,000 people in New Mexico. 

“Outdoor traditions—both new and old—are not only integral to our way of life in New Mexico but also major drivers for our local economies—especially in rural communities,” said Senator Heinrich. “This report demonstrates that our state’s growing outdoor recreation industry supports tens of thousands of jobs. These jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity depend upon us keeping New Mexico’s incredible public lands open and accessible. 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 challenging single track, or cast a fly in a trout stream. I will continue standing with New Mexicans who want to make sure our children and all future generations can benefit from our public lands, watersheds, and wildlife.”

According to the OIA report, which is the largest and most comprehensive state-by-state report of its kind, outdoor recreation supports health, contributes to a high quality of life, and attracts and sustains employers and families. The outdoor recreation economy in New Mexico generates 99,000 direct jobs, $9.9 billion in consumer spending, $2.8 billion in wages and salaries, and $623 million in state and local tax revenue. Earlier this year, OIA released its national Outdoor Recreation Economy Report, which found that the outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending and directly sustains 7.6 million American jobs annually.

Senator Heinrich is a leading advocate for defending the nation’s public lands and promoting policies that invest in the outdoor industry and ensure it continues to grow and thrive. Earlier this year, Senator Heinrich worked to advance two bills he introduced that will enhance opportunities for sportsmen, reauthorize a key conservation program, improve access to our public lands, and protect wilderness within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument. He also advanced bipartisan legislation, the Every Kid Outdoors Act, to provide America’s fourth graders and their families free entrance to all federally managed land, waters, and historic sites, including national parks – more than 2,000 sites in all.