Mountain

Division 8

Report

Montana’s Outdoor Recreation Economy

— A new report highlights the role of Montana’s outdoor recreation economy in spending, jobs, and economic diversification.

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San Luis Valley Wildfire Risk

— Explore interactive maps of watersheds, wildfire, and the wildland-urban interface in Colorado’s San Luis Valley.

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Report

New Montana Homes Increase Wildfire Risks

— The number of western Montana homes in areas with high wildfire hazard has doubled, outpacing development rates in areas with low wildfire hazard.

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old faithful, yellowstone
Report

Economic Impact of National Parks

— This interactive and background materials show visits, spending, and the number of jobs created in gateway communities for every National Park Service unit.

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Report

Impact of National Monuments Redesignated National Parks

— Investigating the economic effects of National Monuments redesignated National Parks, and the potential impact of converting the White Sands National Monument to a National Park.

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Gallatin County’s Economy, Growth, and Open Space

— This report summarizes Gallatin County's economy, how it has grown, and what is driving its performance. The report also describes how growth threatens open space and the role these lands play in local quality of life.

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Montana Losing Open Space

— From 1990 to 2016, the number of single-family homes in Montana grew by 50 percent, and the popularity of large lots converted 1.3 million acres of undeveloped land to housing.

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Benefits of a Frontage Path in Gallatin County, Montana

Updated: This report describes the benefits of a frontage path--a proposed paved, multi-use pathway connecting Belgrade and Bozeman along an approximately ten-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 10 in Gallatin County.

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Economic Challenges and Opportunities in Taos County

— The economic challenges and opportunities in Taos County stem from being both a bustling mountain resort town, and a rural community facing long-term socioeconomic challenges.

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Trail Study

Enchanted Circle Trails: Final Survey Results

— In Taos, New Mexico, Hispanic residents and low-income residents are less likely to have used trails during the previous year, but those who have used trails during the previous year use them just as often as other (non-Hispanic) residents. Among low-income residents, those with a park or trail within a 10-minute walk of their house were 50 percent more likely to have used trails during the previous year.

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Report

Planning Tools to Reduce Montana’s Wildfire Risk

— County governments, fire districts and service areas, and landowners have many opportunities to reduce wildfire risk in the wildland-urban interface through land use planning tools and strategies, though challenges in Montana’s regulatory framework remain.

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Montana’s Economy, Public Lands, and Competitive Advantage

— This report summarizes Montana’s economy analyzing recent growth and what is driving its performance, including a description of how federal lands help attract people, investment, and businesses.

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Resilient Taos County: Living with Wildfire

— This story map provides Taos County residents with information about the ecological role of fire, the region’s wildfire risk, forest restoration projects, and emergency preparedness.

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Hooper Park Pavilion, Lincoln, Montana
Report

Rural Economic Development in Lincoln, Montana

— Many rural western towns face economic uncertainty. This report—informed by interviews and public meetings with residents—compares Lincoln to peer communities and outlines rural economic development options building on the town’s strengths.

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Report

Taos Trails Are Popular But Trail Access Varies

— In the Taos, New Mexico area trails are a fundamental part of health and quality of life, but differences in access to trails may limit the benefits for Hispanic and low-income residents.

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Trail Study

Bonner County Trails Final Survey Results

— In rural Bonner County in northern Idaho, trails are used by three-quarters of residents an average of every day in the summer and every other day in the winter. Trail use is high for all residents, even accounting for differences in the length of residence in the county, income, and age. Business owners are more likely to identify trails as an important factor in their decision to move to the county.

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Trail Study

Happy Trails: The Effect of a Media Campaign on Urban Trail Use in Southern Nevada

— A media campaign to promote a trails information site in Las Vegas, Nevada appears to have significantly increased trail use across most trails studied. The size of the gain in trail use appears to be independent of trail lighting, landscaping, and trail length.

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Report

Survey Finds Trails Valued Across Bonner County

— Survey provides information on Bonner County's trail system and will help prioritize improvements based on resident usage, satisfaction, reasons for living in the area.

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Report

Planning for Montana’s Energy Transition

— While Montana is likely to experience relatively small impacts, coal-dependent communities in Eastern Montana are likely to feel the acute effects of job losses and declining tax revenue in the coming decades.

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Trail Study

Yellowstone-Grand Teton Loop Bicycle Pathway Estimated Economic Impact

— A 262-mile cycle touring loop connecting Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, with significant portions on non-motorized pathways, has the potential to generate important economic activity in the small communities through which it would pass. However, due to the challenges of estimating economic impact across a large area and areas close to national parks, the use and economic impact estimates are likely overstated.

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Trail Study

Jackson Hole Pathways and Trails Survey

— In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a random, statistically representative survey gathered information about residents’ opinions of pathways and trails, including levels and types of use, satisfaction, strengths and weaknesses, and the role the trail system plays in quality of life. The survey found that 91 percent of residents had used the trail system in the previous 12 months and the trail system functions well for recreation, but could use improvements to serve transportation needs.

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Report

Home Construction in the High Divide

— The High Divide region, recognized as one of the most intact biological areas in the lower 48 states, is attracting many new residents and home construction is changing the landscape.

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scenic vista of Bonner County, Idaho
Report

Bonner County, Idaho’s Resilient Economy

— Analysis shows that Bonner County’s economy has grown steadily and been resilient, despite recessions and losing several large employers, and many local businesses are committed to the community and its high quality of life.

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Teton County Trails & Pathways Survey Shows Extensive Local Use

— Survey shows that nine out of 10 respondents use the pathways and trails in Teton County, Wyoming. Such surveys help community leaders, stakeholders, and citizens plan for the future of pathways and trails systems.

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economic grand county
Report

The Economic Value of Public Lands in Grand County, Utah

— This updated report analyzes the economic value of public lands in Grand County, Utah and the important role that these lands play for local businesses and the well-being of the region’s economy.

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Trail Study

Bicycling and Walking in Colorado: Economic Impact and Household Survey Results

— This study found that bicycle tourism draws summertime tourists to Colorado ski areas who would not have come otherwise, many of whom come from out-of-state and generate valuable economic impact. State-wide, residents are most concerned about the safety of cycling and strongly support spending on improvements such as new paved off-street bike paths and linking paths to create a statewide system.

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Trail Study

Analysis of Touring Cyclists: Impacts, Needs and Opportunities for Montana

— This study found that cycle tourists in Montana spend an average of $76 per day and stay eight days in the state during their trip, much longer than the average tourist. Safety is cycle tourists’ top priority, so supporting more cycle touring in the state requires investments in safer routes, including narrower rumble strips, wider shoulders, and bike paths separate from roadways in high-traffic, high-speed areas.

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Trail Study

An Economic Impact Study of Bicycling in Arizona

— This study found that Arizona drew 14,000 out-of-state visitors to 250 cycling events in 2012. Because most participants stay for an average of only four days, their visits have a relatively small economic impact in the state-wide economy. However, these events are likely significant to small towns (see 69) and local spending associated with Arizona residents traveling within the state may generate significant additional economic impact (see a similar study in Oregon 68).

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Trail Study

The Economic Impact of Snowmobiling in Valley County

— This study found that snowmobilers from outside Valley County, Idaho are an important source of revenue during the winter months, spending an average of three days per trip and $106 per day. This revenue stream is highly susceptible to weather, with visits dropping 40 percent in a low snow year.

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Trail Study

Montana Recreational Snowmobiles: Fuel-Use and Spending Patterns 2013

— This study found that snowmobiling is associated with high daily spending in Montana, with the average resident snowmobiler spending $108 per day and the average non-resident spending $148 per day. Despite the 4,000 miles of groomed trails available in the state, snowmobiling remains primarily an activity enjoyed by residents, who accounted for 93 percent of snowmobiling days in 2013.

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Trail Study

The Economic Benefits of Mountain Biking at One of Its Meccas: An Application of the Travel Cost Method to Mountain Biking in Moab, Utah

— This study found that the Slickrock Trail, a world-famous mountain bike trail in Moab, Utah, draws a large number of avid users annually, who are willing to travel long distances and spend large sums to reach it. Because access fees are a relatively low portion of overall trip cost, visitation rates are unlikely to change much even if they are increased.

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Trail Study

Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment Survey: Findings Report

— This study found that while 70 percent of Missoula residents were willing to pay more taxes to acquire open space and build new trails and recreation facilities, still more (77%) were willing to pay more taxes to maintain existing facilities. Eighty-six percent of all residents had used City parks in the previous 12 months, highlighting the importance of within-community trails even in rural areas with public lands nearby.

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Trail Study

Jackson Hole Trail Project Economic Impact Study

— This study found that locals are the main beneficiary of the Teton County, Wyoming trail system, although visitors are increasingly enjoying area trails outside of Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The economic impact of the trails may be significant, but is difficult to estimate without knowing how many visitors come to the area just for the trail system.

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Trail Study

Estimating the Recreation Demand and Economic Value of Mountain Biking in Moab, Utah: An Application of Count Data Models

— This study found that mountain bikers visiting the Moab, Utah trail system spent an average of $282 per trip and visited 2.5 times per year. Rather than a specific trail, as was studied in the Fix and Loomis (1997) Slickrock Trail study, this study evaluated the benefits of the Moab area’s whole mountain bike trail system.

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Trail Study

Trails on Tribal Lands in the United States

— This study found that the benefits of trails in Indian Country may be more significant than in other communities that are less culturally or spatially fragmented, less politically and economically marginalized, or less culturally tied to the landscape. Trails can provide particularly valuable benefits to residents of Indian Country, helping to improve residents’ quality of life in several dimensions: connecting tribal members to each other and to culturally significant sites and natural resources; providing safe alternative transportation routes across the reservation; providing opportunities for safe exercise; and providing opportunities for economic development and cultural education.

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Trail Study

Wildfire Effects on Hiking and Biking Demand in New Mexico: A Travel Cost Study

— This study found that crown wildfires that cross trails are likely to have a dramatic effect on use and individual benefit for hikers and mountain bikers that persists for decades after the fire occurs. Prescribed fires are also shown to decrease benefits and use for both groups, but these declines occur gradually over decades rather than an immediate drop in the year of a wildfire.

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Trail Study

Teton-West Yellowstone Region Backcountry Winter Recreation Economic Impact Analysis

— This study found that participants in backcountry, non-motorized winter recreation generate a substantial economic, employment, and fiscal impact in the Teton-West Yellowstone region. This is the only study we are aware of that assesses the impact of this type of recreation.

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Trail Study

Community Economic Contributions from Recreational Trails Usage on Public Lands: Implications from a Comprehensive Wyoming Study

— This study found that trail-related recreation on Wyoming’s 10,000 miles of trails, both motorized and non-motorized, generates substantial spending for local businesses and tax revenue for state and local governments. While off-road vehicle (ORV) and snowmobile users generate far more spending in this analysis, the incomplete assessment of non-motorized users makes it difficult to make comparisons of impact between motorized and non-motorized users.

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Report

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.

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featured-image-three-wests-sortable-data
Report

Three Wests Sortable Data

— Review the economic and demographic differences between Metro, Connected and Isolated counties.

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The Economic Impacts of Restoration in Central Idaho

— This report provides a way to calculate the economic impacts of natural resource restoration activities to nearby communities that should be helpful to local officials, agency staff, and policy analysts.

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men working at restoration site
Report

Restoring the Clark Fork River

— Headwaters Economics worked with the Clark Fork Coalition, U.S. Forest Service, and others to create an interactive tool that describes many of the stories behind the ongoing recovery of the Clark Fork River.

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riding horses on the rocky mountain front
Report

Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front

— This report analyzes 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.

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power line and wires
Report

The Proposed SunZia Transmission Line: A Guide for Decision Makers

— This report analyzes the proposed SunZia transmission line, finding that the project, as currently configured, depends on its ability to export renewable energy from New Mexico to markets in Arizona and California.

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drilling rig
Report

Report: Colorado’s Oil and Natural Gas Industry

— This graphical analysis reviews the status of Colorado's oil and gas industry including production, drilling activity, tax policy, its role in Colorado’s economy.

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scenic view of wild basin thunder lake
Report

Colorado’s Economy and the Role of Federal Protected Lands

— This report summarizes Colorado's economy and the role of federal protected lands, including how the state has performed, and Colorado's ability to attract people, investment, and businesses.

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Clean Energy Transmission

— Headwaters Economics analyzed transmission infrastructure issues from the perspective of regional economic development, and other topics most relevant to local and state decision makers.

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Image of rig count interactive
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County Level Drilling Activity, 2001-2011

— This report focuses on county-level details of drilling rig activity for the period 2001 to 2011 in the six Rocky Mountain oil and gas states of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

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Report

Carey, Idaho and Economic Recovery

— This report summarizes interviews with local government and business leaders on obstacles to and opportunities for local economic recovery in Carey, Idaho from the last recession.

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Map showing growth of homes in the Wildland Urban Interface
Report

Missoula County Homes at Risk in Flood and Wildfire Areas

— These two slideshows and related information use Missoula County and Western Montana to show how many homes have been built in flood and wildfire hazard areas, which are vulnerable to larger and more frequent floods and fires.

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Rig Worker in Western Colorado
Report

Fossil Fuel Extraction and Western Economies

— This study analyzes the fossil fuel economy in five Rocky Mountain states—CO, MT, NM, UT, and WY—and how states and communities can maximize benefits and minimize the costs of energy development.

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Map showing Montana portion of Crown of the Continent
Report

Crown of the Continent and Climate Change

— This report studies the possible effects of climate change in the Crown of the Continent on two “snow-pack” dependent sectors of the economy--downhill skiing and recreational fishing.

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Aerial of Yellowstone River
Report

Yellowstone River Atlas

— This site documents the economic and demographic conditions of counties bordering the Yellowstone River, and displays maps showing past, current, and forecasted residential development along the river.

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Clearwater collaborative
Report

Clearwater Basin Collaborative

— The Clearwater Basin Collaborative is a diverse group of regional interests working together to craft a plan for the protection, use, and management of National Forest land within the Clearwater Basin in Idaho.

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NM Natural Assets
Report

The Economic Benefits of Southern New Mexico’s Natural Assets

— This report examines how investments in conservation and restoration provide both an immediate return through employment and revenue and help promote long-term economic growth that extends far beyond tourism.

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Report

Land Use Effects of Paving Rural Roads

— This report, a first step toward understanding how paving rural roads impacts land use, reviewed eight projects in western Montana

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map of high divide counties
Report

High Divide GIS Data

— Headwaters Economics developed historical and forecasted housing data for the High Divide based on county tax assessor records. Download GIS data showing 2013 home counts per Public Land Survey Section.

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The Economy of the Gila Region

— This report explores the question of whether and how rural, isolated communities can benefit from being gateways to large expanses of public lands.

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Santa Fe National Forest Workshop

— The workshop involved the public in developing a new Forest Plan in light of the socioeconomic situation of the area and how it has changed since the last Forest Plan was adopted.

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