Regular readers know that the prevailing theme of the conservation posts on Dispatches is summed up in this simple equation: access to healthy habitat creates recreational opportunity and that creates economic activity and jobs.
By and large that healthy habitat is found on the lands owned by all Americans and managed by federal, state and local governmental agencies on our behalf. If you think about it for a minute without those national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, wildlife management areas, local parks and greenways we would be hard pressed to find places to play outside.
All to often we take these public lands and the people who manage them for granted. We forget that those lands create jobs in many local communities far beyond the governmental jobs. Gas stations, diners, motels, hunting and fishing retail stores, all are small business in local communities that benefit from public lands.
Of course just because I think public lands are a good thing doesn’t mean everyone does. My years as a conservation lobbyist has taught me different. I know there are elected officials who are skeptical about the value of public lands (more on that in future posts).
So what does the general ...