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New Mexico Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program Participates in “Discovering New Ranch Dollars Through Nature” Field Day,August 2006
Southwest Region, August 11, 2006
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The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (PFW) staff along with the Assistant Field Supervisor, New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office, attended an event entitled "Discovering New Ranch Dollars Through Nature" hosted by the Ute Creek Cattle Company in Bueyeros, in northeast Harding County, New Mexico (NM), August 11, 2006.  Over 115 guests came to learn how Canadian, a small Texas town, was able to turn around its depressed economy through rural tourism and how such a model could potentially be applied to northeastern New Mexico.  The gathering offered an opportunity to offer funding to private land owners for wildlife improvement through the PFW Program.

Keynote speakers included the Director of the "Texas Prairie River Region", and a biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department who informed the audience as to how nature and culture/heritage-tourism has reinvigorated the local and regional economies and produced a ripple effect in other economic sectors.  The speakers' messages emphasized overcoming fear of the unknown and the importance for ranchers and communities to work together towards shared goals of sustainable rural development, holistic land stewardship, and best conservation practices on the land.  Retaining a community's lifeblood, i.e., its youth, and involving them in rural development was another focal point.

The agenda also included 2 panel discussions.  PFW staff participated on one panel that relayed observations for the audience from an earlier fact-finding trip to Canadian that included both Harding County residents and agency representatives.  The second panel included several people involved in tourism-related businesses, such as a company in Santa Fe, NM, that specializes in planning and leading birding tours on private ranches.  The panels were followed by break-out groups that were given different visitor scenarios and charged with devising activities for tourism.  The day wrapped up with a site visit to a public-private riparian restoration project lead by a biologist with the National Wild Turkey Federation and funded, in part, with PFW funds.  The event was made possible by a grant from the Playa Lakes Joint Venture supplemented by contributions from numerous sponsors, including the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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