The Outdoor Recreation Division of the New Mexico Economic Development Department announced Wednesday that it has awarded outdoor trails and infrastructure grants to 12 projects as part of the Outdoor Recreation Trails+ Grant initiative.

ORD Director Karina Armijo announced the 12 awardees for fiscal year 2024, totaling $1,746,310, while organizations will be bringing in an additional $2.53 million in matching funds.

“We are pleased to support these 12 new outdoor recreation infrastructure projects throughout the state that improve access to the outdoors while bolstering the state’s outdoor recreation economy,” Armijo said. “Investments in trails and infrastructure for outdoor recreation uplift communities and support expanding access to the outdoors for all New Mexicans.”

Nearly 70% of the projects in this second round of Trails+ funding for the fiscal year are based in rural and tribal areas, located throughout the state in 12 counties. This round of awards ranges from $35,773 to the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) to $500,000 going to the city of Farmington.

“The Outdoor Recreation Trails+ Grant invests in conservation-minded shovel-ready projects that are open to the public, increase access to outdoor opportunities and demonstrate a clear economic benefit to the community through improved quality of life, better public health outcomes and/or increased eco-tourism,” Acting EDD Cabinet Secretary Jon Clark said. “Many of these initiatives also leverage federal dollars — and that creates jobs and grows New Mexico’s economy.”

Eligible projects for the Outdoor Recreation Trails+ Grant awards are broken into two tier types. Local projects can be funded up to $99,999 and regional projects can apply for awards up to $500,000. Three out of the 12 projects awarded in this round of funding were Tier 2 regional plans in Bernalillo, San Juan and Sierra counties. Local projects in the Tier 1 category consisted of facility improvements, accessible trail reconstruction, signage, river park implementations, habitat restoration planning, trail connectivity and more.

The Continental Divide Trail Coalition is awarding $35,773 to Rio Arriba, Sandoval and Grant Counties. It will utilize funding to support the design and installation of two interpretive trailhead kiosks in the Carson National Forest. Funding will also support community-based stewardship work on the CDT, including four single-day community stewardship events, one in each designated CDT Gateway Community in New Mexico. These combined efforts will engage CDT communities in stewardship of the trail and improve conditions and accessibility through the establishment of new trail infrastructure.

There is $5.8 million in funding available for Outdoor Recreation Trails+ projects, with review cycles until FY24 funding is expended. There are more than 100 application drafts pending for ORD for this competitive grant. Organizations are strongly encouraged to complete applications early. The next application review cycle deadline is Jan. 31, 2024.