This page contains regional reports, case studies, tools, and a library of additional research that Headwaters Economics has completed concerning the value of western protected public lands.
Scroll down to see all research tools or select a topic:
General and Regional Studies
Protected Lands and Economics: What Research and Careful Analysis Say About the Economic Impact of Protected Lands
This document summarizes a variety of scientific research on the economic impact of Wilderness to nearby communities, especially in the West.
The Effect of Protected Federal Lands on Economic Prosperity in the Non-Metropolitan West
This research paper, in review at the Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, looks at protected lands and economic measures such as per capita income.
Three Wests: The Economic Importance of Air Travel in High-Amenity Rural Areas
This paper was published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Rural Studies. For more on the importance of access to markets, see our Three Wests web page.
The Economic Benefits of the Land and Water Conservation Fund
This short paper summarizes the important economic role that LWCF funding plays for local communities. The three-page paper includes a short bibliography.
Economic Change in the American West: Solutions to the Downside of Amenity Migration
This paper was presented by Ray Rasker in 2008 at the Banff Conference on “Understanding and Managing Amenity-Led Migration in Mountain Regions.”
Economic Benefits of Restoration and Adaptation Work in National Parks
This series of regional reports was prepared for the National Parks Conservation Association to study the benefits of helping National Parks respond to climate change.
Economic Impact of National Parks on Nearby Communities
This interactive shows how national parks can play an important economic role for local communities; and lists visits, non-local spending, and the number of jobs created in communities for each National Park Service unit.
National Monuments and Surrounding Counties
This series of reports focuses on the economic performance of western communities near national monuments.
Economists Urge Protecting Federal Public Lands
More than 100 economists and academics wrote President Obama urging him to create and invest in new federal protected lands such as national parks, wilderness, and monuments.
West Is Best: Protected Lands Promote Jobs and Higher Incomes
This report finds that the West’s popular national parks, monuments, wilderness areas and other public lands offer its growing high-tech and services industries a competitive advantage.
An Exploration Into the Economic Impact of Industrial Development Versus Conservation on Western Public Lands
This paper, available upon request from Ray Rasker, was published in the Journal of Society and Natural Resources in 2006 (19:191-207).
Gateways to Yellowstone: Protecting the Wild Heart of Our Region’s Thriving Economy
This paper synthesizes four studies on the economy of Yellowstone National Park’s gateway region.
The Economic Value of Public Lands Around Grand County, Utah
This study analyzes the economic role that public lands near Grand County, Utah play in the region.
The Economic Potential of a New Maine National Park
These two reports study the economic costs and benefits of a new National Park and Recreation Area for Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties, Maine.
Clearwater Basin Collaborative
This series of reports contains information and analysis on the evolving economic and fiscal role of public lands in central Idaho.
Economy of the Olympic Penninsula
This report analyzes the economy of the Olympics Peninsula and impact of the Wild Olympics proposal.
Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front
This report studies the Front’s land, people, and economy, how the region has changed in important ways during the past several decades, and the potential impact of the proposed Rocky Mountain Heritage Act on the Front.
Montana Legacy Project
These studies review the fiscal impacts on Mineral and Lake counties of the Montana Legacy Project, the proposal to purchase 310,000 acres of Plum Creek Timber Compnay land and transfer it to state, federal, and private ownership.
The Economy of the Gila Region
This report explores the Gila Region in southern New Mexico and Arizona, with 63 percent of the land in public ownership as a case study.
Timber, Restoration Forestry, and Wilderness in Northeast Washington
This report examines northeast Washington’s communities and economy to determine the possible impacts of the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition’s “Blueprint” proposal for managing National Forest lands in the region.
Economic Profile System – Human Dimensions Toolkit (EPS-HDT)
This Headwaters Economics tool allows users to produce free, detailed socioeconomic profiles at the county or state level.
The Three Wests
This Headwaters Economics web page and research shows there are three distinctly different types of counties in the West, defined by their access to major markets and population centers.
Library of Other Research
Annotated Bibliography: Studies on the Economic Value of Public Lands and Protected Public Lands
This six page summary lists research that has appeared in the peer-reviewed academic literature.
Suggested Reading: Protected Areas, Migration, Natural Amenities, and Economic Benefits
This two-page reading list overviews recent protected lands research.
Annotated Bibliography: The Economic Benefits of Land Conservation
This summary, from the Land Trust Alliance, references research on the economic and community benefits related to the protection of private and public lands.