According to the new Colorado College poll released today, voters in six Western states say access to public lands and an outdoor lifestyle are the top reasons they choose to live in the Mountain West. Responses showed that public lands are the cornerstone of the western lifestyle, and are the engine that keeps western economies running.
Among the topline results:
These results are supported by recent studies on public lands as drivers of western economies. One report from Headwaters Economics found that counties with larger shares of public lands, for example Gallatin and Flathead counties in Montana, attract more jobs and see stronger growth than other areas with fewer public lands. The western leaders who are sync with the public know what this means:
“If we’re going to continue to see that kind of economic impact, that sometimes we take for granted, we need to make a concerted effort to keep public lands in public hands,” said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, during a speech last Friday for the Haymakers Summit.