While the mainstream media and environmental propaganda machine grind out daily reports on the economic benefits of an industrial tourism economy, they never specifically say who benefits. That’s the deception–just WHO exactly prospers in the New West?

Jim Stiles

The Canyon Country Zephyr

Take it or Leave it: The New West’s Big Lie…by Jim Stiles

Back in 2008, the day after Obama’s landslide election, Moab progressive/ environmentalist Dave Erley sent out a mass celebratory email. In part he wrote:

“The progressive, green, candidates won all three contested County Council seats and the progressives now have a clear majority on the Council. How loud can I sing ‘Happy Days are here again?’ This all reflects the demographic changes that have occurred in Grand County in the last four years… Fallout from the amenities economy I guess…”

And he offered a personal note:

“Jim (Stiles), this is another aspect of the amenities economy you have been hammering on. I hope you have the courage to discuss the pros and not just the cons of the demographic shift…”

Erley signed his letter, “euphoric in the desert…”

Downtown Moab in 2016

Now in 2017, as Moab explodes from its “industrial tourism” successes and excesses, as it deals with an amenities economy marked by low wages and exorbitant housing prices, and with even more exponential growth ahead, I wonder if Mr. Erley is as “euphoric in the desert” as he was that bright November morning almost a decade ago.

And yet…despite these critical problems and the fact that Moab itself has become a poster child for how NOT to be a “New West” town, support for turning all of the rural West into more Moabs is a daily mantra for progressive environmentalists everywhere. They believe it’s the best way to “save” the West.  Just ask the Outdoor Industry.

Luther Probst, the Outdoor Alliance’s board chairman recently proclaimed, “The evidence is overwhelming that monuments and other protected public land actually contribute to the prosperity of rural communities.” And they have the numbers to prove it.

* The OIA claims that the recreation economy generates $646 billion in consumer spending and creates 6.1 million jobs directly.

*  Another Outdoor Industry Association report states that the outdoor recreation economy in Utah was responsible for $12 billion in consumer spending and 122,000 jobs, and $856 million in state and local revenue.

* Even the National Park Service got into the numbers act, though I never thought promoting the recreation industry was one of its mandates. Recently The Zephyrreceived a press release from the NPS Public Affairs office. The headline proclaimed: “Utah National Park visits create $1.6 billion in economic benefit”  and contained all sorts of economic data.

At the bottom of the email was, incongruously, a quote from Edward Abbey. It read, “May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.”

While the recreation industry mass markets the West’s scenic wonders, it’s almost a certainty that very soon, finding any trail that is “crooked, winding, lonesome, and dangerous” will be problematic.

And yet, environmental groups like the Sierra Club, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and the Wilderness Society enthusiastically— almost fervently— endorse those economic factoids and spend more time praising the monetary components of monuments and parks (and wilderness in general), than they do promoting the real reasons wilderness is important in the first place.

There’s an explanation for that unbridled enthusiasm; it’s also the New West’s Big Lie.

While the mainstream media and environmental propaganda machine grind out daily reports on the economic benefits of an industrial tourism economy, they never specifically say who benefits. That’s the deception–just WHO exactly prospers in the New West?

The truth is, these recently urbanized rural economies were rarely intended to benefit the citizens whose families founded small Western towns more than a century ago. Generations gave their sweat and blood to make a life in these last remote corners of the West and now, in the eyes of many, they serve no further useful purpose. For the New West, it’s not a matter of helping these rural communities. It’s about replacing them

 

Read the full article here


Free Range Report

Comments

  1. I drove through Moab two years ago and camped at the KOA. They discussed the amount of tourists, a million a month. The issues were not only trying to deal with all the tourists but running out of water. They had meetings with the governor and the decison was to stop advertising. I’ve lived in the West for along time hiked all over Arizona and four wheeled in Colorado. Selfishly I don’t like seeing an urbanized West. I have issues with opening up too many areas for development. I read an article that Mozambique losing its forests sold to the Chinese and I am considered about the pigs. These are complex issues monuments. state and national regulations. land and water and culture. The ranching culture the self reliance and independence. Values that founded this nation. Then there is Agenda 21.

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