The preliminary Questa Recreation Assessment Report study was recently presented by Public Land Solutions (PLS) of Moab, Utah, at the Village of Questa Council Chambers, in order to get input and feedback from the community. A dozen community citizens attended in person with another two dozen participating via Zoom.
The culmination of the data PLS researched and collected over the past year was compiled into their top recommendations for outdoor recreation in the Questa area. The study had two main objectives: to identify outdoor recreation activities that have the potential to attract visitors to Questa to grow the outdoor economy, and to identify how outdoor recreation can improve the quality of life for the residents in the Questa area communities.
“We have this tremendous opportunity for attracting outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers to Questa, to use this as a base camp, and thoroughly take advantage of the lands that are protected and available to the public,” said Malaquias Rael, Chairman of the Board for the QEDF, who attended the presentation. “The increase in outdoor recreational opportunities, visitation, and spending will benefit the entire area.”
Over the past year, PLS hosted stakeholder meetings via Zoom—at least two for each recreational activity—giving all members of the Questa community the opportunity to participate and voice their ideas and concerns about recreational pursuits and issues. The outreach also included representatives from the Carson National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, the Enchanted Circle Trails Association, the Village of Questa, and others.
The PLS 80-page comprehensive assessment was emailed out prior to the presentation. It includes extensive inventory mapping of the outdoor recreation currently available, including hiking, biking, rock climbing, fishing, hunting, motorized use, equestrian, water-based interests, and cultural sightseeing activities. At the presentation, a large map was displayed with detailed icon images illustrating the locations of all of these activities. This map is now posted inside the Questa Visitor Center.
The top five recreation recommendations were presented, as determined by a consistent point system applied to each activity based on economic value, recreation value, feasibility, location, and community support; as ranked throughout the process. The activities included three non-motorized trail activities (hiking, cycling, and equestrian use), and rock climbing opportunities, identified by PLS as a unique attraction in the Questa area.
There was active discussion about off-road motorized trail options and the tremendous fishing and hunting opportunities in the area. Participants felt these activities should be included in the top recommendations to create a more inclusive representation of the types of outdoor recreation readily available in the Questa area.
Public Land Solutions recorded the comments and ideas, and will update the final report, which will be available in early 2022. At that time, the outcomes will be shared with the community.
For more information, or to get a copy of the Outdoor Recreation Assessment, contact Lynn Skall, firstname.lastname@example.org or (575) 586-2149.