Economic Development Planning for Cultural Tourism in Bears Ears National Monument: San Juan County, Utah

Public Land Solutions released a new white paper detailing the potential Economic Development Planning for Cultural Tourism in Bears Ears National Monument: San Juan County, Utah. The report draws on research and case studies from other areas in the American West that have taken a pro-active approach to cultural tourism on public land as an economic driver through county and stakeholder strategic planning.

Outdoor recreation on public land is a powerful economic driver for Utah. While other parts of the state have been able to diversify their economies by attracting visitors and businesses that value the state’s recreation assets and world class landscapes, San Juan County’s economy has not seen the full benefits. The conversation about the Bears Ears National Monument is already increasing visitation to the region, which will continue to grow. The question is: how can local stakeholders and county government control and direct that growth to maximize benefits to local residents?

This is the first of ten posts from the PLS whitepaper that outlines Economic Development Planning for Cultural Tourism in Bears Ears National Monument: San Juan County, Utah. Come back every Friday for a new chapter from the whitepaper.

Public Land Solutions is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing comprehensive recreation planning and stakeholder coordination to support effective and sustainable public land solutions. Our campaigns at PLS — such as the Prosperous Communities Intiative — seek to drive economic development through outdoor recreation. We do this by working with the outdoor industry and gateway businesses to protect recreation assets by facilitating inclusive planning processes that benefit a broad range of stakeholders. For more about us see www.publiclandsolutions.org.


House On Fire Ruin, Bears Ears National Monument

Economic Development Planning for Cultural Tourism in Bears Ears National Monument: San Juan County, Utah

Part I

The goal of this report is to explore opportunities in the San Juan County region of southern Utah to anticipate and control regional economic growth by creating a county economic development plan in conjunction with the future land management plan for the Bears Ears National Monument (BENM).

This report summarizes the existing economics of San Juan County and highlights multiple examples of communities around the country that have adopted well planned cultural tourism programs which promote economic development, components of which could be applicable in southeastern Utah. A locally-driven economic development plan, created in parallel with a fully funded management plan for the newly established BENM, could successfully integrate cultural tourism associated with the monument with existing land uses throughout the county such as Native American traditional uses, ranching, oil, gas, and mineral development San Juan County residents can maximize economic opportunities through a locally-driven economic development plan involving the goals of the Bears Ears National Monument proclamation.

Ultimately, San Juan county will see growth in both visitors and residents, and the time is now to take control of that growth.

Indian Creek Rock Climbing, Bears Ears National Monument

Find out more about Public Land Solutions here: http://publiclandsolutions.org/