Fiscal policy reforms could substantially increase the economic benefits of public lands for states and local communities.
Comprehensive benefit cost analyses of public lands policies are needed.
A spiritual and cultural treasure and a multi-trillion-dollar asset, public land must be protected.
Natural resources are still the foundation of the Rockies region economy even as it has shifted from extraction-based activities to recreation and tourism.
Non-labor income can have an outsized effect on communities in the rural West with a large share of public lands.
To assess the value of public lands, we must analyze the full array of what matters to people and consider the activities they pursue.
Counties with public lands today tend to have larger, more diverse, and slightly older populations.
Nonmarket valuation tools have evolved over time and are now relied upon for important policy decisions and litigation.
As we work to protect wildlands, we must also ensure that amenity-led growth benefits a wide range of people and builds community.
Advances in economic valuation methods have improved public lands management.
Federally managed public lands were originally intended to provide and protect public goods and services while constraining commercial activities.
In the face of overwhelming transition, local institutions can make a critical difference in rural community resilience.
Rural and isolated communities face wrenching economic and demographic transitions. A solution to uncertainty is to focus on resilience.
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Updated: Headwaters Economics compiled 144 trails research studies on the impacts of trails in a single library, searchable by type of benefit, use, year, and region.
In Utah, snowmobile use generates substantial economic activity that is concentrated in the population centers along the Wasatch Front and accrues largely to equipment, gasoline, and food retailers. Snowmobile registrations have been steady over the past two decades while the state’s population has grown, showing a decline in participation rates across the state.
In Whitefish, Montana, outdoor recreation is the most important reason why residents stay and visitors come to the community. On the Whitefish Trail, 22,000 annual uses by visitors (30% of total use) generates $3.6 million in spending and supports 68 jobs.
In Helena, Montana, an 80-mile hiking and mountain biking trail system attracts more than 63,000 trail users during the summer. Seven in 10 users are residents, but visitors who use the trail system account for $4 million in spending, support 60 jobs, and generate $185,000 in state and local taxes.
West of Atlanta, Georgia, the Silver Comet Trail plans to double its 61 miles. This is expected to bring more than 500,000 new tourist visits and $30 million in new spending to the area, while also generating substantial new tax revenues for the state through taxes on sales, income, and newly developed residential properties near the trail.
One of the primary concerns about data from GPS tracking apps is that the users tend to be more frequent recreators or commuters and therefore do not accurately represent the actual population. This paper shows that there is a strong correlation between the reported share of people in a neighborhood commuting by active transportation between the American Community Survey (a nationally representative survey) and Strava (a GPS tracking app).