America’s protected public lands contribute to our nation’s economic vitality in so many ways. But new policies from President Donald Trump and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke are putting our nation’s parks, public lands and national monuments at risk, and our economy along with them.
Rescinding or modifying California National Monuments on the basis of a single 120-day review ending Thursday, and without public hearings and transparent public debate, would create precisely the kind of uncertainty that our businesses abhor. It also would not follow the law regarding national monuments.
A recent report from the Outdoor Industry Association shows that Americans spend $887 billion annually on outdoor recreation, supporting more than 7.6 million jobs. Regions surrounding national monuments have seen continued growth or improvement in employment, personal income and increased per-capita income. Rural counties in the West with more than 30 percent protected public lands saw jobs increase by 345 percent over areas without protected lands.
Beyond these direct economic impacts, the value of our national monuments manifests itself in more indirect ways, as entrepreneurs and venture capitalists know. We have seen firsthand that the protection of national public lands – and the designation of national monuments, in particular – is important to the health and growth of entrepreneurial, innovative companies across America.
Our employees work hard and play hard. Spectacular landscapes provide the inspiration which the best and brightest of our employees value when they take time off for family recreation. Access to these lands helps us recruit and keep the people we need, and increasingly, those employees come from a diverse set of communities.
The California National Monuments under review – including Giant Sequoia, Mojave Trails, and Berryessa Snow Mountain – provide a case in point. We advocate their permanent protection not only to ensure the longevity of our natural and cultural treasures, but also because of the economic benefits to America’s fastest growing companies.
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