Public lands are big business for America’s outdoor recreation industry which generates $646 billion nationally and $6.1 billion in New Mexico, employing over 68,000 New Mexicans. The historical- and outdoor recreation-related tourism that Chaco Canyon attracts powers the local economies surrounding the park. According to a recent study by the National Park Services, nearly 40,000 people visited Chaco Historical Park in 2012, resulting in almost $2.3 million in direct economic activity.
Communities across New Mexico from Farmington, to Aztec, and even to Albuquerque benefit from these tourism dollars. And most importantly, Chaco is a symbol of New Mexico and our outdoor heritage. Public lands such as Chaco Canyon are what make western cities desirable places to live and provide a chance for our families to experience the outdoors. These landscapes inspire entrepreneurs and also help businesses to attract high skilled workers. That’s why a Small Business Majority survey found that 41 percent of entrepreneurs who set up shop in New Mexico came because of “access to parks, public lands and other outdoor opportunities”.