COUNTY NEWS RELEASE
Through a competitive grant process, the Outdoor Recreation Division (ORD) is investing in organizations to build trails, trailheads, signage, river access, and more throughout New Mexico. On November 1, 2021, it was announced that Los Alamos County Parks, Recreation, and Open Space will receive $19,300 in grant funding.
The awarded Los Alamos County project will improve access for equestrians, mountain bikers and hikers into Bayo Canyon trail system from the North Mesa stables trail. The project will widen the trail to equestrian trail standards that allow for multiple users and provide better access for youth and adults with disabilities who participate in programs with the Gifted Horse and Pony Club programs from the nearby stables. The Bayo Canyon trail system covers 7-plus miles of the canyon floor and allows users to explore the geology, ancient history, and wildlife of the area.
The ORD administers this infrastructure program (formerly called the Special Projects and Outdoor Infrastructure grant) to improve access to outdoor recreation, while simultaneously bolstering the state’s outdoor recreation economy, which made up 2.5% of GDP in 2019. The grant funds conservation-centric, shovel-ready projects that are open to the public and demonstrate a clear benefit to the community, either by attracting and retaining businesses and residents and/or attracting visitors. Eligible projects include trail systems, trailheads, signage, outdoor classrooms, river access, and more.
Tribes and Pueblos, municipalities, counties, other political subdivisions of the state, and nonprofits were eligible to apply. The grant required a 1:1 match (in-kind accepted) from other funding sources. Funding is split between tribal, rural, acequia/land grant, and urban communities.
This year, 25 organizations were awarded a total of $506,736.17, with the projects bringing in an additional $1.628 million in matching funds. Sixty-four percent of this year’s awarded projects are located in rural counties. This is a 316% increase from 2020, when six organizations were funded with just over $77,000. The growth in funds is due to the leadership of Gov. Michelle
Lujan Grisham and EDD Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes, as well as support from state lawmakers. That said, ORD could still only fund 42% of the total ask.