Why do we love wilderness? | AspenTimes.com

Why do we love wilderness?

Aspen Times writer

A national survey shows people don’t give a hoot if wilderness areas give an economic boost to tourist towns like Aspen. They like wilderness lands for what they do for nature.

A recent survey showed the two highest-valued aspects of wilderness are protection of air quality and water quality, according to Ken Cordell, a U.S. Forest Service researcher from Athens, Ga.

Providing wildlife habitat and providing protection for endangered species ranked as the third and fourth highest-valued characteristics of wilderness.

Leaving a legacy for future generations ranked fifth, as it always does in similar surveys, Cordell said.

It’s probably somewhat surprising to residents of the Roaring Fork Valley that wilderness wasn’t highly valued for providing recreation opportunities, according to the survey.

Providing income to support the tourism industry “always ranks low on the list” among national residents, even if it ranks high among people who live in towns close to wilderness, Cordell said.

– by Scott Condon

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