LETTER: Says public land also good for economy —

LETTER: Says public land also good for economy

By Jon Soine
Bellingham Herald

The article, "About one-third of land in Whatcom County is set aside as public land" (Bellingham Herald, July 19, 2014) I believe misses the point about the benefit of public lands.

Businesses create jobs by leveraging nearby parks and public lands. Additionally, proximity to outdoor recreation areas, trails and parks can bolster and protect home values and reduce crime. Our former sheriff and later Sen. Dale Brandland used to tell us that "you can give me $1 million today for parks or in 10 years give us $10 million for prisons, it is your choice."

People want to live and work where they can enjoy the outdoors close to home. I have seen this time and time again in my experience as a Realtor.

According to Headwaters Economics, incomes were $4,360 higher in Western U.S. counties with 100,000 acres of public lands than in similar counties with no public lands in 2010. Over the last 40 years, counties with more than 30 percent public land increased jobs by 262 percent more than similar counties with no public land.

As a lifetime Whatcom County residence of over 78 years, I have observed that without access to our treasured recreation places in Whatcom County and statewide, we would miss out on the many health, emotional and cultural benefits the outdoors provide.

For Washington Realtors this is simply a quality of life issue.

Read the complete story at Bellingham Herald
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