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Moving Mountains

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

The Santa Fe New Mexican

The SF Reporter was the first to recognize the outdoor recreation economy in NE NM. Check out Jess was a big part of the conversation:

Raton's Economic Development Director Jessica Barfield sees growing evidence of momentum. Born and raised in Raton, Barfield left for 17 years, returned four years ago, and co-owns with her sister Enchanted Grounds Espresso Bar and Cafe. She says the town's ups and downs have created a collective entrepreneurial spirit. "We were left to save ourselves," she says, and "we've been aggressive in our outreach." Subsequently, tourists are coming in bigger numbers and retirees are moving to Raton drawn in part by affordable home prices. Her café will have its best year ever, she says. On Nov. 25, the state Economic Department awarded $800,000 to the Raton Main Street/Arts and Cultural District, in partnership with the City of Raton.

Barfield also looks forward to talking with Navas about how Raton can benefit from Trinidad's new state park. Outdoor recreation, she says, combined with people looking for affordable living are ushering in a new era in which the economy no longer depends on one industry, as it did with coal mining.

"I think people look back and of course it makes them a little sad," she says. "But the people who are left in Raton are the people who love our town, and that's why we are in a position to grow … We don't have a big company that's going to move to our town; it's up to us to make things happen. A lot of things are coming together—the last two years have been a turnaround, and we're set for really great things to come."


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