Jewell touts economic benefits of wildlands, calls for support

Jewell at Center for American Progress forum

Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, touted the economic importance of Americans wildlands at a forum in Washington, D.C. last week. 

These lands support 6.1 million jobs and generate $646 billion in consumer spending - double the amount spent on pharmaceuticals--according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

View a video of her speech below:

Jewell highlighted the various challenges that are currently facing the outdoor recreation industry, such as climate change, threatened wildlife, park access, attempts states are making to take control of public lands, and competition from the oil and gas industry.

“We need to be more thoughtful of how we balance development with conservation. And it needs to be on the landscape level,” she said. That means that protecting parks doesn't stop at its borders.

“We applaud Interior Secretary Sally Jewell for focusing attention on the under-appreciated value that our shared national lands deliver," said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society. "Investing in our public lands is an investment in America’s economic security. Policy makers should take these economic benefits into account when weighing decisions about protecting and conserving wild public lands.”

Jewell also urged those who enjoy these lands to speak up. Those numbers are growing as there were more visitors to national parks in 2014 than ever before.

“If we value public lands, then we've got to be at the table. Because otherwise we are on the menu. There are plenty of resources that underlie these public lands that you care about that other people would like to exploit," she said. "Your voices in helping us would be very important."

Join us in speaking up for wildlands - places that offer so much for us and are in great need of our support.