The economics of protecting wilderness

Photo: Hikers with gear. Photo by Jeff L. Fox.

Peter Metcalf, CEO of the outdoor gear vendor Black Diamond Equipment, wrote an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune explaining the connection between public lands and economic opportunity. Metcalf provides evidence that far from preventing job growth, protecting wilderness actually helps spur and sustain it.

Metcalf cites research showing that the outdoor recreation industry is responsible for over $730 billion in annual economic impact in the U.S. — and 6.5 million jobs! Many of those jobs, which range from renting kayaks to restoring public lands, are major economic drivers in rural communities.

In addition to creating job and business opportunities, wilderness areas also push nearby home values up — as much as 19% in some regions. It also helps protect other investments and resources, such as clean drinking water and erosion protection.

See Metcalf’s op-ed here.

Photo Hikers with gear.  Photo by Jeff L. Fox