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February 7, 2024

New Mexico Considers $350 Million in Funding for Conservation and Recreation

By: Maddie Godby, policy + communications coordinator

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The Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund looks to provide a dedicated stream of resources to invest in the state’s public lands and waters.

A historic piece of legislation is currently being considered in New Mexico. Signed into law by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in 2023, the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund is the embodiment of years-long, bipartisan collaboration to invest in New Mexico’s public lands and waters. This fund will provide a dedicated and steadfast stream of resources to programs focused on conservation and recreation in all 33 counties and tribal communities. The fund will also enable the ability to leverage untapped federal dollars to maximize its impact. 

The Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund will support programs focused on outdoor recreation so that every New Mexican, present and future, as well as the state’s blossoming tourism sector, can easily access and enjoy the outdoors. At a time when interest and participation in outdoor recreation is higher than ever, sustainable, long-term investment is necessary to protect New Mexico’s biodiversity and natural resources, preserve the scenic landscapes the Land of Enchantment is famous for, and maintain the proper infrastructure for residents and visitors to safely and responsibly recreate. 

An initial $100 million dollars was invested into the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund in 2023 and split evenly across two funding mechanisms to support existing conservation programs. The first $50 million will provide direct financial support to programs through annual disbursements. A permanent trust was created with the remaining $50 million to fund existing programs through interest incurred on the principal, as to ensure a sustainable source of funding for conservation that transcends generations.

In 2024, state legislators and Governor Lujan Grisham have the opportunity to invest New Mexico’s budget surplus to meet the $350 million minimum threshold required for the fund to become self-sustaining. If these additional funds are not appropriated, the fund will run dry within the next five years. With full endowment, the fund will be able to support programs that safeguard New Mexico’s natural resources, bolster the state’s outdoor recreation economy and infrastructure, improve the collective health of both the environment and communities across the state, and leave a legacy for future generations to enjoy the lands and waters of New Mexico for decades to come.

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