A new economic analysis from BBC Research & Consulting on behalf of the Center for Western Priorities finds the proposed Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument area in northern Arizona provides $51 million in economic benefits each year.
The $51 million includes spending by out-of-town visitors to the proposed monument area, along with revenues from land management operations, grazing, mining, and forest products. Visitors spend millions on lodging, restaurants, and outdoor recreation; these dollars recirculate throughout the region, providing a broad economic benefit. But failure to permanently protect the region could place the $51 million annual contribution to local economies at risk.
The proposed monument, as described in the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage Monument Act introduced earlier this month by Arizona Rep. Raul Grijvala, would encompass 1.7 million acres of public land. It would connect two existing national monuments across the northern border of Grand Canyon National Park plus part of the Kaibab National Forest along the southern border of the park.
The study is a snapshot of the existing economic benefits of the region around the proposed monument. It isolates the economic benefits generated by “primary visitors” into the region—those who travel specifically to visit the proposed Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument. This means that the economic benefits from recreation are from the proposed monument area alone, and separate from the visitors who travel to Grand Canyon National Park and may make a side trip into the greater Grand Canyon area.
While the study did not attempt to quantify the effects a monument designation would have on future economic activity in the area, previous monument designations have shown significant economic benefits by raising the profile of the area among potential visitors.
The Center for Western Priorities released this analysis as part of its ongoing efforts to understand and document the economic effects of land conservation and protection across the West. In February 2015, CWP and BBC studied the economic impact of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana.
Dozens of local groups and organizations have called on Congress or President Barack Obama to designate the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument, including five nearby tribes, outdoor recreation leaders, and local businesses.