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SANTA FE, N.M. – The New Mexico State Land Office has hired Maria Lohmann to serve as the agency’s new Outdoor Recreation Specialist, Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard announced today. Lohmann fills a role crucial to Commissioner Garcia Richard’s efforts to increase outdoor recreation opportunities on state lands for all New Mexicans.

“We are so thrilled to have Maria on board. She comes to us with a deep passion for New Mexico’s public lands and outdoor spaces and years of experience that will suit her well in this position,” said Commissioner Garcia Richard. “We have made tremendous strides in improving access to state lands for outdoor recreation purposes in recent years. Maria’s past work managing natural resources and creating outdoor recreation opportunities will help even more New Mexicans get outside and enjoy our beautiful state lands. I made it a priority to open up our state lands to adventure when I took office, and Maria’s skillset will help us continue to meet and surpass our goals in this area.” 

“I’m excited to hit the ground running and find more ways for New Mexicans to experience all that state lands have to offer,” said Lohmann. “In my opinion this is the best state in the country to explore the outdoors, and there are amazing sites on state lands like Moon Mountain and White Peak that not enough New Mexicans know about. I’m looking forward to building on the progress the State Land Office has already made in enhancing the outdoor experience in New Mexico.”

Lohmann comes to the State Land Office from the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department, where she served as its Sustainability and Resilience Officer. Prior to that she spent nearly a decade working for the Santa Fe County Open Space and Trails Program, where she gained experience in developing recreation opportunities, managing natural resources, and promoting outdoor stewardship. Born in Gallup, N.M., Lohmann holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and a master’s degree in community and regional planning from the University of New Mexico. 

Commissioner Garcia Richard established the first Office of Outdoor Recreation within the Surface Resources Division of the State Land Office in 2019 and launched the “Open for Adventure” initiative to improve access to outdoor recreation activities on state lands. The Commissioner prioritized streamlining the process to access state lands by creating the online permit portal that accepts online credit card payments for outdoor recreation permit applications and waives a requirement to have the application notarized in person. These changes have roughly tripled the number of outdoor recreation permits the agency has processed per year since fiscal year 2018. Additionally, the Commissioner piloted the Luera Mountain Backpacking Permit program to allow licensed hunters overnight backpacking access to these state lands. The pilot program was a success and continues to be offered every hunting season. 

Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard has overseen the New Mexico State Land Office since 2019. In that time the agency has raised more than $8 billion for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and universities. Over 13 million acres of state trust land are leased for a variety of uses, including ranching and farming, renewable energy, business development, mineral development, and outdoor recreation. The State Land Office has a dual mandate to use state trust land to financially support vital public institutions, while simultaneously working to protect the land for future generations.