Study: Recreation Economy Boosting Growth

Jun 3, 2019

A recent study reports people are more likely to move to recreation-based economies, which can have big implications throughout the Mountain West.

The non-profit research group Headwaters Economics concluded that the recreation economy might be the key to keeping residents in rural counties - and attracting new ones.

Economist Megan Lawson authored the study.

"In some places, tourism is a four-letter word, because people are concerned that it only brings low wage jobs," she says. "But, this research suggests that it actually can bring a more robust economic opportunity by getting those people to move to the community."

Lawson says recreation-based economies can help smaller rural and urban communities compete with the bigger, coastal cities for talent. Lawson says these newcomers can inject money into the community. On the other hand, she adds their arrival can also lead to rising housing costs.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2019 KUNR. For more, visit kunr.org.