Letters From the West

Idaho Interior lands generate 15,000 jobs, agency says

Lake Lowell is a part of Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge managed by the Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Lake Lowell is a part of Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge managed by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Activities on lands managed by the federal Department of Interior contributed $1.55 billion in economic output and supported 15,000 jobs in Idaho in 2012, the agency said.

A report by Interior’s Office of Policy Analysis showed 7.8 million visits at Idaho Interior sites in 2012 including national monuments, wildlife refuges and public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. That does not include national forests that make up more than half of federal lands in the state.

The report said recreation on Interior-managed lands supported more than 6,000 jobs and energy and mineral development on Interior sites supported 3,000 jobs, Interior said in a press release.

“This report demonstrates that the Department creates and supports private sector jobs and economic growth in Idaho and communities across the nation,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

Nationwide, Interior supported 2.3 million jobs and added $371 billion during the same period. That more than three times Idaho’s GDP.

Rocky Barker is the energy and environment reporter for the Idaho Statesman and has been writing about the West since 1985. He is the author of Scorched Earth How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America and co-producer of the movie Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, which was inspired by the book and broadcast on A&E Network. He also co-authored the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and the Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho with Ken Retallic. He also was on the Statesman’s team that covered the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news in 2007. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him its Conservation Achievement Award.

Posted in Letters from the West