Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is an economic powerhouse, new report shows

May 29, 2018
Michael Matti, flickr.
The forest is a nearly trillion-dollar asset to the Emerald Corridor

Seattle, WA (May 29, 2018) – The Gem of the Emerald Corridor, a new report released today by the Wilderness Society, finds that the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is a $1 trillion asset to one of the fastest growing regions in the nation.

“We know nature has tremendous value in our everyday lives,” said Kitty Craig, Washington State Deputy Director for the Wilderness Society. “This report details and puts a number on those values. The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has wide-reaching positive impacts on the air we breathe and water we drink, it’s a job creator and enhances our quality of life in the region. It's important we have an economic value associated with these critical services, so we can have informed discussions about policy actions and management of public lands like these moving forward.”

Some major highlights of the study, conducted by Earth Economics, include: 

  • The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest provides an estimated $30 billion in ecosystem services every year to surrounding communities.
  • Outdoor recreation participants spend nearly $80 million on trip-related expenditures within 50 miles of the forest. This does not include previously purchased equipment (mountain bikes, hiking shoes, etc.). 
  • The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest supports about 1,300 jobs within the region.
  • Treated as an asset that will continue to deliver benefits well into the future, the asset value of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is conservatively estimated at $1 trillion. 

“This isn’t just a story about nature – it’s a story about communities,” said Jessie Martin, Program Director for Earth Economics. “The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest connects urban and rural economies up and down the corridor through a shared interest in our region’s incredible wealth of natural resources.”

The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest spans nearly 2 million acres along the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington state, from Canada to Mt. Rainier. This captivating landscape offers old-growth forests, wild rivers, snow-capped mountains, ancient glaciers, countless recreation opportunities and is home to a diversity of wildlife. The forest forms a backdrop to the rapidly growing Puget Sound region, which is estimated to swell to more than six million people by 2050, increasing the population in the communities closest to the forest by nearly two million.

“The Gem of the Emerald Corridor report provides economic data that validates what we are reminded of every time we venture to the forest and return the better for it,” said Jon Hoekstra, Executive Director of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.  “The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest provides a myriad of benefits for our region’s citizens, from clean air and water to a place for adventure, rejuvenation, and more. Outdoor experiences in the MBS lead to improved physical and mental health, educational outcomes, friendship, and community connections.”

Media Resources:

The Gem of the Emerald Corridor (full report PDF)

The Gem of the Emerald Corridor (factsheet PDF)

Resources page

Full recording of press conference 

B-roll forest footage (credit to Mason Cummings/TWS)

Photos of press conference (credit to Marty Schnure/TWS)

 

Media Contacts

Anastasia Greene, Regional Communications Manager, The Wilderness Society, agreene@tws.org, 540-207-3162

Jessie Martin, Program Director, Earth Economics, JMartin@eartheconomics.org, 206.949.0369

Margaret Ullman-Hess, Senior Manager | Public Engagement & Snoqualmie Valley, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, 206.678.2183margaret.ullmanhess@mtsgreenway.org

 

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The Wilderness Society, founded in 1935, is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. With more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org.   

Earth Economics works to quantify and value the benefits nature provides. As a global leader in science-based economics, we offer pragmatic, collaborative support for investment and policy decisions that mitigate risk, add value, and increase resilience. We envision a future in which industry, communities, and nature thrive together.

The Mountains to Sound Greenway is the 1.5 million-acre landscape connecting Puget Sound and central Washington. The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust leads and inspires action to conserve and enhance the Greenway, ensuring a long-term balance between people and nature. Founded in 1991, the Greenway Trust works to promote public land acquisitions, connect a continuous regional trail system, preserve rural lifestyles, teach people of all ages about forests and wildlife, and mobilize thousands of volunteers to care for the landscape.