Each year, the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish host the New Mexico Outdoor Expo. The event is free to the public and usually draws about 4,500 people to the Albuquerque Shooting Range, where the DGF promotes all the activities that can be done on public land. Obviously, hunting and fishing are popular activities on public land in New Mexico. In recent years, the DGF has expanded to include non-traditional activities like kayaking, rock climbing, archery and ATVs.
Year after year, Kayaking remains one of the most popular activities at the Outdoor Expo, as measured by “passports” stamped at each station. The kayaking station grew from a single 6′ x 12′ above-ground pool, serving ~500 kids a day (for about 5 minutes each) to a 55′ x 55′ pool made from highway barriers and a liner, serving almost 1,000 people a day. This has become one of the main attractions at the New Mexico Outdoor Expo, in part, because it’s one of the few ways to get wet at the event on a hot August day. Think about that for a minute; we live in a hot, arid state, where watersports are not readily accessible or affordable. That’s the beauty of kayaking. Compared to owning a powerboat, jet ski or raft, kayaking is much more affordable. We can kayak in places where powerboats and jet skis can’t go, and they take minutes to deploy with little or now maintenance. We had representatives from several other paddling community organizations, including the Greater Albuquerque / Santa Fe Kayak Meetup, who provided most of the volunteers, New Mexico Kayak Instruction, who provided ~20 kayaks, paddles and life jackets for the event, and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary Maybe we’re biased, but we love kayaking in New Mexico. Thank you Department of Game and Fish for helping us tell our story and get more New Mexican’s connected to the water!