Opinion: National monuments threatened by Trump drive millions of private sector jobs

The Mercury News
By Nancy Pfund
August 22, 2017

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.

To read the full arti­cle, visit The Mer­cury News.