In these post-recessionary, economically sluggish times, the morals of capitalist America say that you basically should not do anything unless it stimulates the economy. But guess what? That doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy more stuff. You can go out and buy experiences, too. You can go, just for instance, to a national park. You can rent a kayak. You can hire a guide. You can get all the benefits of being outside, and still be doing your part to create jobs.
[L]ast year’s nearly 417 million recreation visits to public lands and waters stimulated $45 billion in economic impacts along with 372,000 jobs. This number does not include the value of protecting places from development beyond recreation, such as clean air, clean water, and habitat.
And this isn’t just something that makes life better for people living in these places in the short term. Protecting land from development creates economic growth in the long term, too, says ThinkProgress:
As just one example, economics consulting firm Headwaters Economics found that jobs in Western non-metropolitan counties that have more than 30 percent protected public lands increased by 345 percent over the last four decades, while counties with no protected lands saw jobs increase by only 83 percent.
We know what we’re doing this weekend!