By Matthew Anderson | Special to Idaho Freedom Foundation
Last week’s Outdoor Retailer trade show brought state-of-the-art kayaks, rock climbing harnesses and camping gear to Salt Lake City. However, along with this top-of-the-line outdoor equipment came political rhetoric from environmental groups and other advocates of federal land management. The opening day of the expo was highlighted by a panel discussion on the advantages federal lands provide counties in Western states. During the forum, Ray Rasker of the Montana-based Headwaters Economics touted his organization’s findings that federal lands economically benefit our rural communities. While this is true of a few elite counties, it does not paint an accurate picture of what is really going on around the West.
Tim Oren of Boise investigated the statistical methods used by Headwaters Economics and shared his findings with the Idaho Statesman in an op-ed titled “Select federal lands attract wealthy elites, don’t benefit working class.” Read it here.
Note: Matthew Anderson serves as a policy director for the Sutherland Institute in Utah. He has partnered with the Idaho Freedom Foundation on several lands-related projects, including an important study about state-managed recreation access. See that study here.