New Mexico's Land and People
The first observation newcomers make about New Mexico is its vast geographical openness. Whether on winding mountain roads, long stretching highways or out on the wide open plains, the blue skies reach into distant horizons. New Mexico is actually the fifth largest state in the United States with 121,335 square miles.
New Mexico's geography includes colorful mesas, lava flows, extinct volcano areas, unusual rock formations among cliffs and mountains, and Carlsbad Caverns. New Mexico also has approximately 20 million acres of forested land, 8.5 million of which is designated as National Forest. Ancient seas that once covered the land left behind fossil beds scattered throughout the state.
While the climate is generally considered dry because of the low humidity, water fills mountain lakes and streams as the winter snows melt in the spring. Rainfall is most abundant during the summer months of the monsoon season when the billowing masses of cumulus clouds erupt into afternoon showers.
Since the time of Coronado and his exploration into the region searching for gold in 1541, many cultures, including Native American, Spanish, European, Mexican, African-American, Asian and others have blended creating the unique character you will find in New Mexico today.
The vast tracts of land in New Mexico provide a wealth of natural resources for farming, ranching, and manufacturing. New Mexico's economy is as diverse as its cultural roots. It includes hundreds of art galleries, challenging ski areas, a booming dairy industry, international trade with Mexico, and a proliferation of technological breakthroughs due to the presence of national laboratories in Albuquerque and Los Alamos to name but a few. New Mexico is also one of the largest energy producing states in the nation, ranking fourth in natural gas production in 1992.
Even New Mexico's healthcare providers have been noted on a national level in recent years. In 1994, Presbyterian Hospital and the University of New Mexico Hospital were rated within the top 100 in the nation. The University of New Mexico Medical School has ranked in the top 15 medical schools for the past several years.
New Mexico is a blend of ancient cultural traditions and striking environmental diversity. Its unique multi-cultural personality and character truly make it America's Land of Enchantment and a state worth further exploration.