Public Lands

How communities and counties benefit from nearby federal lands as the region’s economy evolves is a critical issue for local leaders, officials, and businesses seeking to remain economically competitive.

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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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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Report

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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Commercial Activities on National Forests
Report

Commercial Activities on National Forests

— Updated: Headwaters Economics produced two interactive maps to show the range of commercial activities on National Forests at the Forest, state and forest region levels.

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Report

The Value of Public Lands

— Headwaters Economics compiled a number of regional reports, case studies, tools, research library, and related news articles on the value of public lands to nearby communities.

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Report

Time to Create a Natural Resources Trust

— Unlike most countries and state governments, the U.S. has not created a natural resources trust which could help meet volatility and spending challenges facing local and county governments.

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federal lands data visualization
DataViz

Federal Lands in the Rural West: Liability or Asset?

— Rural counties in the West with more federal lands performed better on average than their peers with less federal lands in four key economic measures. Explore the trends and exceptions across the rural West.

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graph of county payments
Report

County Payments Research

— County governments are compensated for the tax-exempt status of federal public lands within their boundaries. These payments often constitute a significant portion of county and school budgets, particularly in rural counties with extensive public land ownership.

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county payments map
DataViz

County Payments: History, Context, and Policy

— These interactive maps show how federal land payments are distributed to counties and states. Explore both the Payments History maps as well as the Policy Options maps which project what happens if SRS is not reauthorized or if PILT is reformed into a single payment to counties.

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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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Report

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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Headwaters-staff-Mark-Haggerty
Mark Haggerty
Blog

Time for a U.S. Natural Resources Trust?

— Compared to other nations and even U.S. states, the federal government is a conspicuous laggard in creating a natural resources trust which would allow for stable, permanent, and ever rising payments to states and local governments without risks to taxpayers.

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Report

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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Map with public lands: Western States

West Is Best Reports: News Release

— News release for report that shows how the western United States is outperforming the rest of the country and the role protected federal lands in providing western states a competitive economic advantage.

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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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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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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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Report

National Monuments: Detailed Reports

— Headwaters Economics created a series of reports on the economic performance of western communities near national monuments.

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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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Report

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

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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