Conserving lands and prosperity: Seeking a proper balance between conservation and development in the Rocky Mountain West

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More than half of the land in the Western United states is managed by state and federal governments (Jackson, 1995). Public lands in the seven Rocky Mountain States alone cover an area roughly 7.5 times larger than Florida. These public lands shape rural economies and cultures by providing raw materials, recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat, natural beauty and ecosystem services. The wide range of benefits provided by public lands are partially the result of diverse and sometimes conflicting management goals, which range from encouraging extraction, to promoting tourism, to preserving wilderness

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