Region 14 – Huerfano and Las Animas Counties
The Raton Basin Region (Region 14) consists of three counties, Huerfano, Las Animas, and Colfax County, New Mexico. Las Animas County is located at the southernmost border of Colorado and New Mexico, with Huerfano County located north of Trinidad and south of Pueblo. The three counties are very rural area, with a population of 21,355 in 2012.
The region has relied on coal mining and gas production from the Raton Basin, a large coal and natural gas deposits. Agriculture, primarily ranching, is a strong economic engine throughout the region. Agriculture is the 4th largest sector in terms of employment, representing 920 jobs or 8.4% of all employment. Largest agriculture industries in terms of employment are animal production (668 jobs) and crop production (118 jobs). Tourism is another major part of the region’s employment base. The region shares abundant wildlife, outdoor recreational opportunities, and culture. Interstate trade is common to the region’s population. The primary infrastructure that ties the counties together is the interstate and secondary road system.
The three counties committed to a Stronger Economies Together (SET) initiative to collaborate to improve economic conditions and support business creation. Regional cooperation resulting from SET encourages systematic change and coordinated regional economic development.
A major goal of the region is to support education that creates a technically skilled, sustainable workforce. A skilled workforce encourages new and established businesses to hire locally. The Trinidad State Junior College and Highlands University are major contributors to the economy. They supply the workforce with such skilled workers, specifically in Health Professions and Related Programs; Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities; and Construction
The Raton Basin Region is a model of economic prosperity and a healthy rural lifestyle. The region is a multi-state and diverse cultural area which thrives by cooperatively and collaboratively embracing cultural, economic, educational, technological, and social endeavors.
REGIONAL DATA & HIGHLIGHTS
Largest Companies by Employment
- Convenience Plus Partners
- Fourth Corner Forestry
- Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center
- Landcom Hospitality Management
- Pearl Development Company, LLC.
Top 5 Key Industries by Employment
- Health & Wellness
- Tourism & Outdoor Recreation
- Food & Agriculture
- Infrastructure Engineering
- Financial Services
Top 5 Regional Assets
- Trinidad State Junior College and Highlands University four year degree programs
- Natural resources - coal bed, methane natural gas, air quality, water, lakes, rich cultural history, Shuler and Southern Colorado Repertory Professional Theater, Capulin
- Volcano National Monument and geothermal natural hot springs
- Intermodal - railroad, local airports, I-25 corridor, local transit, gateway to Colorado
- Rural quality of life
- Hills Energy Busch Ranch Wind Project consists of 16 Vestas wind turbines and represents Black Hills Energy’s first Colorado wind project. The project will connect to the utility’s 94,000 electric customers with 36 miles of new transmission lines. One megawatt of wind generation provides enough energy to supply approximately 500 homes.