|The economic argument for a national monument|
|Written by Wild Nevada|
|Tuesday, 29 May 2012 16:24|
Richard Vellotta of vegasinc.com makes a case today about the economic benefits of national parks and monuments, pointing out that special landscapes and conservation areas can have a positive economic impacts on their surrounding communities.
We’ve been preaching that for a long time about a proposed National Conservation Area with Wilderness for Gold Butte, so it’s always nice when an expert from the business community makes the same point.
In his column, Mr. Vellotta – a senior business report for the Las Vegas Sun – notes that 13 percent of Las Vegas visitors take time out of their busy gambling, shopping and eating schedule to “explore the outdoors.” That’s 5.2 million people a year.
“The big takeaway is that our visitors are paying more attention to the outdoor attractions around Las Vegas,” Vellotta noted, “and they’re spending more than they did prior to the recession for sightseeing, food and beverages.”
Mr. Vellotta was using his conclusions to build an argument for establishing the Fossil Beds National Monument in North Las Vegas. That site along the Upper Las Vegas Wash contains the single-largest known collection of Ice Age fossils in the Southwest. Some call that area Tule Springs.
But much the same argument can be made for Gold Butte, and we couldn’t agree with Mr. Vellotta more when he concludes:
“Clearly, some compromise will be necessary. For Southern Nevada, that would create a win-win-win situation. We preserve our past. We diversify our economy for the present. We invest in educational opportunities for our future.
"The time is right.”