Poll: Parents want their kids playing outdoors

Views on Western water and public lands also told

Published: Thursday, Feb. 7 2013 6:45 p.m. MST

“Westerners see the permanent protection of their public lands as an economic imperative, and essential to their quality of life,” said Colorado College economist and State of the Rockies Project faculty director Walt Hecox. 

Overall poll results for the six states reveal:

• 79 percent believe public lands support their state's economy and enhance their overall quality of life.

• 74 percent believe national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife areas help attract high quality employers and good jobs to their state.

• 71 percent believe selling off public lands to corporations for development will hurt their economy and quality of life.

• 52 percent perceive public lands to be a job creator in their state.

One surprising revelation to emerge from the poll, according to Hecox, is that drilling on public lands is largely an unknown fact to the majority of residents in the six Western states.

The survey details how, overall, only 34 percent of those interviewed knew with any certainty that oil and gas drilling occurs on public lands. Respondents said there should be a "balanced" approach to energy development, with 56 percent saying that environmentally sensitive lands should receive permanent protections.

On the subject of climate change, the poll showed Utah residents have sharply divided opinions. The survey asked if there was total agreement or total disagreement with the notion that climate change plays at least some part in the increasing number of extreme weather events such as drought, wildfires and hurricanes.

While 54 percent of Utahns polled agreed with the statement, 43 percent totally disagreed.

E-mail: amyjoi@desnews.com

Twitter: amyjoi16

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