Gateways to Yellowstone

Protecting the Wild Heart of our Region's Thriving Economy (2006)


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(PDF, 1 MB, 36 pages)

In 2005, through its offices in Helena and Livingston, Montana, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) commissioned four studies to explore the roots of the Yellowstone region's tremendous economic success. These studies focus on Yellowstone's gateway region, which encompasses six counties that share proximity and a close relationship with the park: Carbon, Gallatin, Madison, and Park counties in Montana, and Wyoming's Park and Teton counties.

Together, these four analyses tell the story of a region in which a booming economy is intertwined with an essential wildness. Gateways to Yellowstone documents the economic importance of the region's natural wonders and wildlife, which do far more than simply draw tourists in large numbers. Much of the area's success is driven by its attractiveness to newcomers and long-time residents: the spectacular natural setting, abundant and varied wildlife, easy access to outdoor recreation, and small, friendly towns.

This report also shows how the region's popularity threatens the very qualities that underpin its attractiveness. It points toward a range of actions that can help those who have chosen this place as home maintain a balance between a healthy landscape and a healthy economy. Gateways to Yellowstone presents six key fi ndings, explored in more detail in the main body of the report:

Finding 1: Yellowstone's gateway region is thriving.

Finding 2: The region's unparalleled natural environment is its chief economic asset.

Finding 3: Communities throughout the West benefit from proximity to national parks and other protected public lands.

Finding 4: Yellowstone National Park is the region's ecological core and an anchor for its thriving economy.

Finding 5: Yellowstone's wildlife generate significant economic value for the area.

Finding 6: The Yellowstone gateway region's most important economic assets are threatened.

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Background Reports
Gateways to Yellowstone synthesizes four studies on the economy of Yellowstone National Park's gateway region. These six counties in Wyoming and Montana share a close relationship with the park and the complex of wildlands at the core of the Greater Yellowstone region. Most of the data and other information supporting this document's findings come from these four foundational studies. The reports that detail these studies can be downloaded below. Or you may order copies from the Northern Rockies office of NPCA, P.O. Box 824, Helena, Montana 59624. Telephone: (406) 495-1560. E-mail: northernrockies@npca.org.

The Economy of the Greater Yellowstone Region: Long-Term Trends and Comparisons to Other Regions of the West
Ray Rasker, Senior Economist, Sonoran Institute, Bozeman, Montana (2006)

Yellowstone Wildlife and the Regional Economy: Review of Economic Study Results and Analysis
Chris Neher, Senior Economist, Bioeconomics, Missoula, Montana
John Duffield, Ph.D., Adjunct Research Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences, The University of Montana, Missoula (2005)
(Used with the gracious permission of the Yellowstone Park Foundation.)

Wildlife's Contribution to the Greater Yellowstone Regional Economy
SuzAnne Miller, Biometrician, Dunrovin Research, Lolo, Montana (2006)

Economic Development in Environmental Economies of the Northern Greater Yellowstone Region
Jeff Graff, MPA, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana (2006)

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