Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the law on April 2 that made New Mexico the 15th state to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation. The bill passed the Senate 38-0 and the House 52- 14.
“To the outdoor enthusiasts who don’t yet know about our rivers, our rapids, our mountains, our trails, our ski slopes — you will soon,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said.
“Outdoor recreation is a key piece of our economic expansion efforts. We are building on what we have and creating job opportunities in a field where this state can, should, and will lead regionally and indeed nationally. This new office will take us to the next level.” Santa Fe, N.M. – Axie Navas, a veteran journalist and outdoor enthusiast who has managed digital media and marketing for Outside magazine, is New Mexico’s first Director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation.
Navas assumed the position with the New Mexico Economic Development Department (NMEDD) on Sept. 23, 2019 and will work in close partnership with Peter Mitchell, an EDD regional representative with a long history in business development.
Navas is a New Mexico resident and has worked as the Digital Editorial Director for Outside magazine, where she managed a team of 25 writers, editors, and website developers. She also led Outside’s online gear channel and worked as a reporter in South Lake Tahoe and at La Prensa in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Navas grew up skiing, hiking, and biking in the Rockies. “I’m intensely passionate about the outdoors – protecting our wild places and getting more people of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs outside,” she said. “I want to collaborate with other state agencies to promote economic development and general wellness, but also advocate for the principles of conservation and respect for tribal lands.”
Navas has degrees in journalism and Spanish from Northwestern University and lives in Santa Fe with her husband, John Clary Davies, Executive Editor at New Mexico Magazine.
Santa Fe native Peter Mitchell has worked in economic development since 1994 in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Texas. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Master’s Degree in International Management.
Mitchell worked to shepherd the new outdoor recreation legislation through the 2019 Legislature and has been the point of contact for the office since it was created on July 1. He skis, hikes, camps, and is a fly-fisherman.
“This new initiative puts New Mexico at the forefront of outdoor recreation initiatives in the United States,” he said. “We have started gathering ideas from around the state and are eager to expand outdoor recreation and help communities grow.”
Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes of the Economic Development Department said Navas’s marketing and publishing work and Mitchell’s background in business development gets the Office off to a strong start.
“We’re sure excited to get our outdoor initiatives up and running and we’ve identified a great team who can start to build the outdoor economy in the state, create jobs, and identify more opportunities,” said Keyes.