April 9, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Summit Daily News "Scott Jones: Negative impacts of expanding Wilderness."

Scott Jones:
"Senator Udall's office is currently seeking input on a proposal to expand designated Wilderness in Colorado by 235,000 acres. Federal lands designated as Wilderness are the most restricted, least available public lands in the country, as these areas are supposed to reflect the lands in an “untrammeled by man” way. Over 15 percent of the Colorado mountains are currently managed as Wilderness but account for less than 4 percent of visits to the region. Most people will never set foot in a federally designated Wilderness area, as there is no access for most users of public lands. Mechanized travel is strictly forbidden in designated Wilderness areas, and until recently motor vehicles could not be used for emergency response in Wilderness.

The closure of public lands to 96 percent of users has drastic economic impacts to communities, as most Colorado communities are heavily reliant on tourism revenues. A recent Utah State study found that counties with significant Wilderness designations average $1,446 less in per household income, $37,500 less in average payroll and generated $92,900 less in tax revenue than similarly located counties. The negative economic impacts of Wilderness restrictions caused the Utah Legislature to adopt a resolution requesting the federal government not to designate additional Wilderness due to the negative economic impacts. Wilderness limitations result in thousands of dollars in lost salary to families and tens of thousands in lost payroll and revenue for local communities to maintain roads and operate schools...."
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