Photo: Laura Meadows
The Rocky Mountain West, with its vast tracts of public lands, has long been valued for the natural resources that provide fuel, building materials and other commodities and generate jobs and revenue for communities, states and schools. Public lands have also been prized for hunting and fishing opportunities and are increasingly seen as a magnet for tourists, retirees, businesses and professionals in search of a high quality of life.
"Conserving Lands and Prosperity: Seeking a Proper Balance Between Conservation and Development in the Rocky Mountain West" is a new report prepared for Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development by Southwick Associates that explores the economic benefits of public lands adjacent to rural communities.
A separate document highlights Cody in northwest Wyoming, an area surrounded by public lands that owes about 10 percent of its jobs to direct spending on fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing.
The reports address the need for responsible development to conserve the Rocky Mountain West’s renewable riches – watersheds, viable wildlife and fish populations, clean air – and ensure a secure economic future for the region.