The report notes that investments in recreation, wildlife conservation, water management and renewable energy development alone generated $106 billion in economic output and supported 862,000 jobs in fiscal 2015, which ended Sept. 30.
National parks, monuments and refuges hosted a record 443 million recreation visitors in fiscal 2015 -- up from 423 million the previous year. These visitors contributed $45 billion to the economy and supported about 396,000 jobs nationwide, the report says.
The concept of the public trust doctrine implies that we all share equal, undivided interests in our natural resources which include our wild lands and wildlife. Governmental institutions do not own trust resources; rather, they are owned by the public and are entrusted in the care of government to be safeguarded for the public’s long-term benefit.
Wilderness is a vital habitat for wildlife. In addition to providing wildlife with a home, wilderness also provides migration routes and breeding grounds for many kinds of animal species. When wilderness is fragmented and developed, these wildlife are threatened. In the web-of-life, wilderness helps to preserve a wide variety of natural life forms and contributes to more diverse plant and animal gene pools. Without designated wilderness, it would be virtually impossible to ensure the preservation of species.
In addition, wild places are a great source of economic activity. Based on the Dept. of Interior's report (above), it is evident that America's public lands are indispensable economic engines and outstanding investments for American taxpayers, now and in the future.
if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination
of all useful and beautiful wild things sometimes seek to champion them by
saying that “the game belongs to the people.”
So it does; and not merely to the people now alive, but to the unborn people.
The “greatest good for the greatest number” applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction.
Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us to restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wildlife and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt (1916)