WASHINGTON (Nov. 7, 2013) -– In light of recent attention over the closure of the National Parks System during October’s federal government shutdown, a new paper from the R Street Institute calls on conservatives and liberals both to re-evaluate their federal conservation priorities, including expanding opportunities to use federal lands to spur the recreation economy.

In a new report, set to be published Nov. 12, R Street Associate Fellow Ryan Cooper poses that the classic dichotomy of “the environment” versus “the economy” is woefully incomplete. Just as environmental devastation can cause social and economic problems, a small-government approach to environmental preservation can be a source of economic benefits.

“Government-lite” conservation is an approach where federal lands are opened up to visitation consistent with the long-term health of the attractions, founded on a good working relationship with local communities. This approach can create long-term economic benefits in nearby “gateway” communities and the nation as a whole, while preserving America’s natural heritage.

“It’s a moderate path between total preservation and totally unrestricted resource exploitation, conserving those places that lure tourists, while still permitting resource extraction and devolving authority to states or the private sector where appropriate,” Cooper writes.

R Street invites you to join Cooper and local business leaders for a teleconference discussion of the issues raised in his paper.

DATE: Nov. 12, 2013

TIME: 2 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PST

DIAL-IN NUMBER: 1-800-356-8278


Featured Publications