Public lands pump up Western economy, create jobs economists say

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  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Dec. 1, 2011 4:33 p.m.

    Corn said: One of the fundamental problems with this model is that it is not sustainable: Because oil, and mining are?
    All of this new tourism is wreaking havoc with the existing parks.
    Tourism is benefitting a few elitist environmental outfitters at the expense of the parks.

    So very few elitist environmentally conscience people are destroying the parks.
    While people like ktg are bummed they can't drive wherever there 4x4 can go.
    Like a true republican-The terrain will control the "Free Travel."

    That's the silliest thing I've heard today.

    Do they charge the businesses around stadiums for upkeep of the playing field?

  • Corn Dog New York, NY
    Dec. 1, 2011 3:59 p.m.

    One of the fundamental problems with this model is that it is not sustainable:

    "Of more critical concern is the declining health of existing national parks and monuments that are suffering from neglected infrastructure that threatens the visitor experience"

    All of this new tourism is wreaking havoc with the existing parks. Tourism is benefitting a few elitist environmental outfitters at the expense of the parks. Those who receive economic benefits from the parks should pay for their upkeep. Are these people willing to do that? No, they demand more parks and wilderness to subsidize their profit-making businesses. The new parks will too likely deteriorate.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2011 12:22 p.m.

    Sensible, forecasting green dystopia: "Then cover the desert with photovoltaic panels..."

    I've never been one to push solar PE on desert open range when there are acres and acres of unexploited urban surfaces facing the sky. Put PE panels on the roofs of warehouses and shopping centers and the like, where the power can be used onsite or distributed through the existing grid infrastructure (no need to build new HV transmission lines to the remote Wah Wah Valley when there are already lines in West Valley City). The Univ of Utah Orthopaedic Center parking lot with its tilted rigid awnings is a solar PE farm just waiting to happen. Why aren't people taking advantage of that?

    The mining ghost town example is still valid. I remember Price in the 1980s, when the mines were closing and every other house had a 4x4 in the yard for sale. And Parachute, Rifle, and Silt in the 1990s after the oil shale bust? The point of the letter in the original article is that all too often politicians give short shrift to amenity values of public lands in favor of extraction when it comes to creating jobs. Amenities create jobs, too.

  • Sensible Scientist Rexburg, ID
    Dec. 1, 2011 10:50 a.m.

    Not tapping the periphery of Yellowstone for clean, renewable electricity is just plain foolish. Studies show it would not harm the park one bit. You'd never know the power plants were there. And, by the way, it's impossible to sell electricity to China.

    Most mineral and energy resources are nowhere near national and state parks.

    Comparing Old West mining towns to anything today is ludicrous. We treat the land differently today, and not just because of Federal rules. I've been to most of those ghost towns, by the way.

    If you want to scar the land, put up wind farms and expand use of battery-powered cars that require vastly expanded mining to produce the batteries. Then cover the desert with photovoltaic panels that produce great amounts of toxic chemicals (including Cadmium) in their manufacture and contribute to the heat-island effect.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2011 9:04 a.m.

    Sensible: "Think how many MORE could be employed in the area if natural resources were developed on those lands!"

    The West is littered with the windswept ruins of cities that hitched their economies to the extractive commodities wagon. Ever been to Frisco, Gold Hill, Sego, National, Consumers, Sunshine, Ophir, Mercur, Mohrland, Temple City, Silver Reef, Mammoth, Dividend, Grass Creek? Nah. Didn't think so.

    After the infamous Black Sunday in Colorado, when the oil shale facilites shut down leaving the Colorado western slope towns reeling, there were bumper stickers that read, "Lord, just give us one more boom and we promise not to [excrete] it away." The problem with basing an economy on the removal of any finite resource (and all natural resources are finite) is that eventually that resource runs out (or at least becomes uneconomical to produce). Extraction of finite resources is by definition unsustainable in the long run. Economies based on extraction are destined for boom and bust.

    There is a place for resource development, but healthy economies need to diversify. They need to conserve and preserve their assets (resources) and consume them judiciously if they still want to be around in the future.

  • ktg SLC, Utah
    Dec. 1, 2011 8:53 a.m.

    As a resident of southeast Utah, I laugh at this article. Baaaahhhaaaa.. this is the biggest stretch yet at pushing for more wilderness. An increase in the economy? Give me a break. As many have mentioned most individuals come to this area for the opportunity to explore the back country. Some come to explore on foot. Some on ATV's and many more in a fourwheel vehicle. Most want the chance to see the area on their own without some government approval. Locking more space up will only reduce economic growth in the area not increase it. What a joke.

  • KDave Moab, UT
    Dec. 1, 2011 8:31 a.m.

    Jobs in the extraction industries typicaly pay around $50,000 a year. Tourism jobs are mostly around minimum wage, throw in that they are also seasonal and you are lucky to make $15,000, poverty wages. No wonder the poverty class is growing under this administration.

  • hymn to the silent Holladay, UT
    Dec. 1, 2011 7:55 a.m.

    A sensible multi-use plan is optimum for the economy. Managing them for all to enjoy is the ethical thing to do. There is a balanced approach that ensures beautiful places for our children to enjoy and recreate in, and provide natural resources to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Let's be pragmatic, not political.

  • RC Brigham City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2011 6:09 p.m.

    The key is to take care of the National Parks we have now and not keep adding more and more. We also need to make sure we keep multi use areas. Most people who go to Moab go for OHV activities and visit the parks as a side activity while they are there. This is one of the great things about Southern Utah, it is not all for one and exclude the other.

  • shangg MIAMI, FL
    Nov. 30, 2011 5:59 p.m.

    "The question of adding more federal lands would be a challenge today, but in five years it may not be," said Walt Hecox, with the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Nov. 30, 2011 4:54 p.m.

    Total spending by travelers and tourists in Utah climbed 4.7 percent in 2010 to $6.53 billion.

    Sensible would tap yellowstone for geothermal, sell it to china, and charge more for electricity in WY, MT and ID.

    Selling our children's inheritance because times are rough right now, how cowardly.

  • CARL South Salt Lake, UT
    Nov. 30, 2011 4:48 p.m.

    Obama administration's real intent is to put fences around national parks and monuments just like wilderness areas. They just wanted to keep all touring cars out and get those who can walk to hike several miles into backcountry. This is a volation of American Disability Acts.

  • rmk South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 30, 2011 4:33 p.m.

    Moab, really, everyone down there has a 4x4, ATV, motorcycle or 4x4 Subaru and they are driving off road. There is know way to say that people are going to wilderness area's. Most people including the people writing the story don't know the difference between wilderness designated land and wilderness land that the majority of people recreate on using vehicles.

  • Sensible Scientist Rexburg, ID
    Nov. 30, 2011 3:56 p.m.

    Public lands have static seasonal employment levels.

    Think how many MORE could be employed in the area if natural resources were developed on those lands! The economists' letter is extremely weak. Fencing off land cannot create significant employment.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 30, 2011 3:42 p.m.

    But Rob Bishop says they are worth nothing.

    Golly, could such an esteemed leader of the Grand Old Poobahs be wrong?