Outdoor Retailer - August 2021 - 17

Courtesy Axie Navas
IDEAS / Thought Leader
Attention
Paying
From working as a top editor
at Outside to directing the
Outdoor Recreation Division
for the state of New Mexico,
Axie Navas thinks people of all
backgrounds can find identity
and meaning in the outdoors.
By Bevin Wallace
Name: Axie Navas
Company: Outdoor Recreation Division,
New Mexico State Government
Founded: 2019
Title: Director
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Downlow: " I grew up in Colorado with the
privilege of phenomenal outdoor access, " says
Axie Navas. " My Cuban father immigrated
to the U.S. and promptly decided he couldn't
handle winter in this country without learning
to ski. So he became a ski instructor in Vail
in the early 1970s, and I had the benefit of his
professional instruction. " Those early days on
the mountain seeded an outdoor addiction in
Navas and led her to pursue a job at Outside
magazine, where she worked as an editor for
about six years before going to work for New
Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as the
state's first Outdoor Recreation Division
director. The Outdoor Recreation Division
is actually an arm of the state's Economic
Development Department, and Navas' job is
to promote New Mexico's outdoor places and
recreation as ways to build revenues and create
employment opportunities. The Division's
mission also includes public land and water
conservation and increasing access, particularly
aimed at helping disadvantaged youths
get outside. Here, she talks about the vital role
the outdoors has played in her life, the challenges
the outdoors faces, and the people and
things that give her hope for its future.
Axie
Navas
Being outside is one of the great joys of
my life, an outlet that gives me identity and
meaning. The outdoors are also deeply imperiled,
through both systems of oppression that
intentionally reduce access to these places,
most often for people of color, and the climate
crisis caused by industrial capitalism.
Outdoor access isn't an amenity; it's a human
right. We need to invest in these incredible
places to ensure equitable access and
healthy lands and waters.
How can you avoid those moments of love
and wonder when you're outside, paying attention?
Mornings watching the sun come up
over the Sangre de Cristos near my Taos home
and watching the violent afternoon monsoons
with glinting hail and much-needed moisture
are particularly grounding.
The outdoor industry must recognize
that almost all outdoor recreation on " public "
lands takes place on unceded territory
and that the activities so many of us love
are made possible by broken treaties with
Indigenous nations. To start, the outdoor
industry could lead a movement centered
around reparations and land return to the
Native people who have been expelled from
these places that, in many cases, have been
rebranded as wilderness " untrammeled by
man. " Just last year, Taos Pueblo celebrated
the 50th anniversary of the return of Blue
Lake from the federal government back to
the Pueblo people.
In New Mexico, there are many, many,
many leaders of color charting the
course of the outdoor industry. To name
just a few in this state: State Rep. Angelica
Rubio, eexecutive director of the La Tierra
Conservation Project Ángel Peña, Wings
of America Director Dustin Martin, Gov.
Lujan Grisham...
Since her election as New Mexico Governor
in 2019, Gov. Lujan Grisham has shown every
day the power of competent, compassionate
state government in regards to outdoor economic
policy and beyond.
Be bold and brave in your vision for what
this industry can accomplish. O.R.
August 2021 / OUTDOOR RETAILER 17
http:// https://www.nmoutside.com/ http:// https://www.nmoutside.com/

Outdoor Retailer - August 2021

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Outdoor Retailer - August 2021 - 1
Outdoor Retailer - August 2021 - 2
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