A Safe Haven for Economic Benefits
Focusing on the Northeast, Southeast and California-Nevada regions, "a recent study [PDF] by North Carolina State University researchers for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that metro-area homes near wildlife refuges are worth more than those farther away from these havens." The increases in property values are substantially higher than that of properties in close proximity to open spaces such as parks, which averaged a paltry 2.8% increase. Properties close to wildlife refuges in the Southeast region, for example, saw a 7-9% increase in property values.
Furthermore, the economic benefits reported by the study fail to take into account the substantial tourist spending generated by these refuges. The New York Times points out that "34.8 million visits to American wildlife refuges in fiscal 2006 generated $1.7 billion in sales, nearly 27,000 jobs and $542.8 million in employment income in regional economies."
With refuges under threat of sale and development from House Republicans, this new data may be their saving grace. Communities surrounding refuges reap rewards in employment and income; thus the refuges provide a haven not only for its creatures and plants, but also for the people who live and work nearby. Armed with this information, those more economically inclined may decide that the preservation of these refuges can effectively ensure positive economic outcomes.