Lincoln County, New Mexico is a place where the southern Rockies meet Mexico. This is where the true “wild west” spirit is only separated by a few generations.
I have always perceived my home state to be rich in natural resources and potential. New Mexico has grown over the past couple of years and attracting outdoor enthusiasts to the state is one reason. Today, local economies are developing due to the increase in trail systems and access to public lands. This draws millennials like me back to enjoy the outdoor activities of New Mexico.
Amenity migration is the movement of people based on the draw of natural and/or cultural amenities. This idea is changing the way rural communities look at public land use and economic activities. I lived in Colorado and worked in the outdoor industry for ten years. I saw first-hand how communities changed because the outdoor amenities offered. In hopes of learning its true outdoor recreation potential, I made the transition back to New Mexico.
Ruidoso, New Mexico is a year-around playground in the cool pines. Local agencies are doing their part to make the community a better place to live, work and play. Ruidoso has had to change the community’s outdoor recreation product mix to adapt to changing climates. This has not been an easy process; however, over forty-one miles of mountain biking trails have been developed within the immediate area of our town making this is great evolution for a community with little snow fall that has always catered to ski industry.
New Mexico is not one of the top rated fly fishing states, yet the opportunity to catch big trout is possible in many of its lakes and rivers. Inn of the Mountain Gods might be one of the most underrated fisheries in the state. In addition, Grindstone Lake was one of the top stocked fisheries in the state in 2017. Funding for bigger stocker trout is now being generated to offer trophy fishing opportunities as well. The lake is open to swimming, canoeing, and stand up paddle boarding, which has created more avenues for economic activity for Ruidoso. Creating a public space and resources for families to come and enjoy the outdoors has certainly added to the economic vitality of this community.
The hunting industry has always been an integral part of commerce for families across the state. There was over a 7% increase in hunting applications in New Mexico this year and more people visited New Mexico State Parks than ever. Fortunately, New Mexico has United States Senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, in favor of supporting public lands; however, unfortunately, in spite of their support, there is a shrinking budget for the agencies managing these public lands. If we don’t continue to have access to our public lands, none of these outdoor activities will be possible. That is why it is crucial for everyone to get involved and start planning for our future outdoor resources.
The idea of protecting our natural resources for generations to come should be the main focus of your next adventure. Start thinking how outdoor recreation impacts your community. Build lifestyles around promotion, protection, and preserving our public lands. Increasing community outdoor activities will increase economy for New Mexico.