Denver Protected federal lands are fueling Colorado’s economic vitality by luring employers and employees eager to pursue a quality of life elevated by wild, open spaces.
A new study released Wednesday by Montana’s Headwaters Economics — an independent research group that compiles statistics into research aimed at improving community development and land management decisions — shows that Colorado’s federally protected national parks, wilderness areas and monuments are driving economic growth. The study of Colorado and the West reports that Western non-metro counties with more than 30 percent of lands federally protected enjoyed a 345 percent increase in jobs since 1970 while non-metro counties with no protected lands saw only 83 percent job growth in the same period.
It’s not just the host communities that are thriving.
“The lands immediately surrounding these federally protected areas are the fastest growing,” said Ray Rasker , the executive director of Headwaters Economics who describes himself as an “economic geographer.”
Dispelling the notion that land protection hinders economic development, Rasker’s research points to Colorado’s vast collection of federal land — 36 percent of the state — as a primary driver in growing the state’s economy.
Read the full story at The Denver Post's website.