Local Studies

These reports focus on specific local or regional economies and opportunities to advance community and economic development priorities.

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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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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DataViz

National Parks Economic Impacts

— Explore National Parks economic impacts from estimated visits, jobs, and labor income created by visitor spending in National Park Service lands.

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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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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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Report

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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Report

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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Report / Series: Rural West Insights

Lessons from the Timber Transition

— Western counties once dependent on timber today perform similarly to like-sized counties. Three case studies outline economic lessons from counties that weathered the timber transition.

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Report / Series: Rural West Insights

Economy Surprisingly Dependent on Non-Labor Income

— Non-labor income sources such as investments, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid often are the largest and fastest growing sources of personal income for many counties. Rural counties especially are surprisingly dependent on non-labor income.

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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

Dam Removal Case Studies

— Six dam removal case studies on the fiscal, economic, environmental, and social benefits of dam removal.

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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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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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Wheeler County vista
Report

Economic Development Opportunities in Wheeler County, Oregon

— Like many rural counties in the West, Wheeler County faces economic difficulties. It also has untapped resources and opportunities, which suggest the possibility of a brighter economic future.

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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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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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The Tongass Transition Framework: A New Path Forward?

— This report examines whether the Tongass Transition Framework, which proposed a “new path forward,” is working to enhance economic opportunities in southeast Alaska while conserving the National Forest.

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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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Report

Owyhee Canyonlands Hold Economic Potential

— This report provides an initial analysis of the potential economic impact of protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands area in Malheur County, Oregon.

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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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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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Clearwater collaborative
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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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Sitka meeting

Sitka, Alaska Workshop

— Headwaters Economics facilitated a day-long workshop on how to apply the Forest Service's new Integrated Resource Management approach on the Sitka Ranger District.

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Okanogan valley
Report

Ranchland Ownership in Okanogan County, WA

— This report on land ownership and the ranching economy in the Okanogan Valley and Eastern Okanogan County focuses on fragmentation and turnover in large, agricultural properties and the effects of these trends.

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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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Report

The Union Pacific Railroad Line, Timber and Southwest Montana

— This report examines the importance of southwest Montana timber to the Union Pacific Railroad line, and the significance of the railroad as a mode of transportation for timber-related manufacturers.

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Report

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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