Recreation Wealth


If you listen only to those pushing an anti-federal-government agenda — such as Congressman Rob Bishop or state Rep. Howard Noel — you might be convinced that the only way Utahns can benefit from federal lands is to drill them to barrenness or grind them under the wheels of all-terrain vehicles.

…If you discount, as they do, the limitless potential of developing, instead, the steady revenue stream created by visitors to Utah’s national parks, monuments and forests, you’d get a skewed picture of the Beehive State’s economy, present and future. That fact is underscored by a new report from the Department of the Interior that shows Utah benefits more than any other state from tourism and recreation on federal lands.

… The Bureau of Land Management has a mission to provide for multiple uses of most federal land in Utah. But some of those uses cannot co-exist. Oil and gas drilling and ATVs can leave permanent scars on the land that would repel tourists and hurt Utah’s image as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.