Public Land Policy, And The Wilderness Act Of 1964

Decent Essays

1. Introduction For the past decades, public land policy debates have intensified among scholars, planners, and policy makers. The root of the debates is a question of which types of public lands management can provide better economic benefits to adjacent regions that are referred to gateway communities. For a long time, resource extractive industries – such as mineral, oil, coal, and timber development sectors - have been a primary growth engine for the economic growth in those communities. However, since the past three decades, several federal land use policies such as the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 (Public Law 86-517) and the Wilderness Act of 1964 began to restrict this type of development (Duffy-Deno, 1998; Rasker, 1994). As a result, the restriction of public lands use has been enhanced, and tourism- and service-based development has been promoted. Proponents of protection of public lands have argued that the restrictions on the use of public lands would lead to economic growth by enhancing the amenity value of the locality. For example, protection of public lands provides a variety of natural amenities that can allow local residents and visitors to easily access to recreational opportunities (Cline et al, 2011). Consequently, these characteristics of public lands increase seasonal home ownership and visitors’ expenditures, and thus enhance economic growth in the gateway communities. In contrast, opponents of protection of public lands have argued that

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