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"This year's conference was the biggest yet, with over 350 attendees from all corners of the state, including Las Cruces and Doña Ana County,” state Sen. Jeff Steinborn said about the Oct. 5-7 Outdoor Economics Conference in Taos.
“We learned a lot about important issues related to our outdoors, including conservation, trails and sustainable infrastructure, tourism, equitable access, education and small business opportunities and challenges," said Steinborn, who is the conference founder and director, and executive director of Outdoor New Mexico, which cosponsored the conference along with the Outdoor Recreation Division of the New Mexico Economic Development Department.
Conference attendees and panelists included U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich and U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, both D-New Mexico; Lt. Gov. Howie Morales; New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard; New Mexico Department of Tourism Sec. Jen Schroer; New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division Director Axie Navas; New Mexico State Parks Division Director Toby Velasquez; Taos Pueblo Gov. Clyde Romero Sr.; Doña Ana County Manager Fernando Macias; City of Las Cruces Parks and Recreation Director Sonya Delgado; Jessica Gomez of Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks; Wildlife for All Executive Director Kevin Bixby; and NMSU film professor Ilana Lapid.
Workshops included “Outdoor Infrastructure as Economic and Community Development,” “Micro Outdoor Economic Development Strategies,” “State of the Outdoors with New Mexico’s Leaders,” “Managing Challenges of the Outdoor Economy,” “Outdoor Access, Inclusivity and the Outdoor Equity Fund,” “Destination Marketing,” “New Mexico Outdoor Company Lessons of Success,” “Protecting the Outdoors,” “Outdoor Education in Schools” and “Building a Successful Outdoor Business.”
The conference also included outdoor tours and the screenings of “Gila Environmental Film School,” presented by NMSU film professor Ilana Lapid, and the New Mexico State Sen. John Pinto native filmmaker showcase.