New grant helps fund community projects that enhance outdoor recreation opportunities
SANTA FE, N.M. – The Outdoor Recreation Division (ORD), a division of the New Mexico Economic Development Department (EDD), has begun accepting applications for its new grant program to help residents improve access to outdoor recreation in their communities. This grant program focuses on conservation-minded shovel-ready projects that are open to the public and demonstrate a clear benefit to the community, either by attracting and retaining residents and/or attracting visitors.
For the current grant cycle, applications will be accepted from July 31 through September 14, 2020. Tribes and pueblos, municipalities, counties, and nonprofits are all invited to apply. Grant amounts will range from $5,000 to $25,000 and will require a 50/50 matching component from other funding sources (in-kind accepted). Total funding will be split between tribal, rural, acequia/land grant, and urban communities.
“This grant invests in the lands and waters that New Mexicans cherish,” ORD Director Axie Navas said. “We believe that access to the outdoors should be low-cost and ubiquitous for everyone in the state – while also protecting New Mexico’s incredible natural resources. That's why lawmakers created the Special Projects and Outdoor Infrastructure Fund. Trails, river parks, wildlife viewing areas, and more all contribute to economic development, prosperity, and general wellness. This grant will fund projects that directly enhance that access.”
Eligible projects are shovel-ready structures and other infrastructure that grow public, nature-based outdoor recreation, as well as design and engineering plans. Projects that take a regional approach (i.e. a trail that connects to a broader system) will be weighed more heavily. An example of the types of projects that will be considered include trails, signage, river access, whitewater amenities, outdoor climbing walls, trailhead improvements, structures for nature, and wildlife viewing.
The ORD’s mission is to ensure that all New Mexicans gain from the public health, environmental, and economic benefits of sustainable outdoor recreation. Toward that end, the ORD also administers the Outdoor Equity Fund (OEF), a grant to support programs that get kids 18 and younger outside.