Economic Opportunities in the Blackfoot Watershed

This report provides an overview of the Blackfoot River watershed’s economy and summarizes the findings from six focus groups that explored potential economic opportunities.

  • The smaller communities and rural populations at the core of the Blackfoot region are struggling economically but have a number of natural resources and access to markets that offer potential opportunities.
  • Focus group participants across the board saw the need to promote concerted economic development, though not at the cost of the natural environment or rural way of life and health of local communities.
  • The focus groups identified opportunities for branding and marketing, capturing traffic passing through the region, developing industry standards, improving workforce skills, trading more successfully on hidden gems, improving education and attracting families, offering more housing option, expanding health care, and developing value-added agricultural products.

home in the blackfoot at sunset

Ideas for Local Growth and Development Based on Conversations with Residents

The Blackfoot Challenge asked Headwaters Economics to conduct focus groups in the communities of the Blackfoot River watershed to explore economic priorities, barriers and opportunities, and a possible role for the Challenge in economic development.

This report provides an overview of the regional economy and summarizes the findings from six focus groups, which were held in the principal watershed communities during the summer of 2014.

Focus group participants across the board saw the need to promote concerted economic development, though not at the cost of the natural environment or rural way of life. As one resident put it “we want to keep things the way they are, but find a way to make what is here a little better and a little more robust.”