Today in New West news: Governor Bullock to deliver keynote at Why Public Lands Matter, Wyoming population drops for first time in 27 years, and Denver economics good for millennials.
Tuesday, March 28, Montana Governor Steve Bullock will be the keynote speaker at Why Public Lands Matter, a full-day conference being held at Boise State University. The event, slated to start at 8:30 a.m., will “examine current federal management, the various voices in support and dissent and potential stakeholder collaboration. It will also explore best practices to protect and preserve public lands for future generations,” according to a Boise State press release:
While Westerners may disagree on which activities should take precedence in certain places, most agree that these lands belong to all. Recent events, including the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, have underscored the importance of open public spaces in western economies, culture and imagination, as well as the need for sound public lands management.
The conference will highlight the importance of federal public lands to all Americans. “The events surrounding the occupation of the Malheur Refuge and renewed calls to transfer or ostensibly claim our federally managed public lands have alarmed people, not just in the West but throughout the country,” said Andrus Center Executive Director John Freemuth.
The conference will begin with a welcome from Gov. Cecil D. Andrus and conclude with an evening reception. Panel topics include a retrospective on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and discussions of successful collaborations. Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden will give a presentation on legal theories for and against federal land ownership.
“Public Lands are critical to the conservation of fish and wildlife habitat, watersheds and antiquities,” Freemuth added. “They’re a critical source of outdoor recreation such as hiking, fishing and hunting. And, they’re an important economic engine driving tourism and the dollars it brings to the states in which these lands reside. When we talk about what should happen on our public lands, we are practicing democracy.”
The Andrus Center for Public Policy, housed in the Boise State School of Public Service, advances the legacy issues of former Idaho Governor and Secretary of the Interior Cecil D. Andrus – wise use of our environmental resources and public lands, proper funding of education for our children and the cultivation of leadership from all segments of our society.
Registration for the event is $50. You can register for Why Public Lands Matter here.
Down in Wyoming, according to the Casper Star Tribune, the state’s population dipped for the first time in 27 years, which the Trib attributes to job movements, citing data from the U.S. Census Bureau:
In July, 585,501 people called the Cowboy State home, a decrease of 0.2 percent from July 2015, or 1,054 fewer Wyomingites.
While some individual counties have recently experienced population decreases, this is the first time that the state’s population overall has fallen since 1990.
Between January 2015 and the summer of 2016, about a third of the state’s mineral extraction jobs, or nearly 9,000 positions, had been lost, said Wenlin Liu, chief economist for the Wyoming Division of Economic Analysis.
The recent decline in oil and natural gas prices, along with a drop in coal production, reverberated on the state’s overall economy.
In all, Wyoming lost 16,000 jobs, or more than 5 percent of its workforce, Liu said.
“For Wyoming any (population) change is always followed by an employment change,” he said.
Census number crunchers arrived at the figure when considering births, deaths and the number of people moving in and out of the state.
There were 7,590 births in Wyoming between July of 2015 and July 2016 and 3,838 deaths. That resulted in a 2,752 population increase.
But about 3,800 more people left the state than moved in, Liu said a statement explaining the Census figures.
The 3,800 is an estimate based on tax returns.
If someone filed taxes from Casper in 2015 and Denver in 2016, “these two tax returns can be matched,” he said. “It is just assumed that person moved from Casper to Denver.”
Finally, speaking of Denver, we’ve reported on how the Mile High City has become a magnet for millennials, whose influx (among other factors) has contributed to a rise in rents. That being said, according to the Denver Post, the city is still one of the best for the millennial generation, with young residents making more money and fewer living at home:
Lower unemployment and higher wages are allowing Denver millennials to move out of their parents’ homes at some of the highest rates in the country, according to an analysis released Tuesday by Abodo.
Nationally, just over a third of millennials — 34.1 percent — were living at home with their parents or other family in 2015, according to numbers from the American Community Survey that Abodo compiled. That rate represents a historical high.
“Many millennials are not only earning less than their parents did as younger adults, but the majority of millennials who pursue college degrees are eventually saddled with an average student loan debt hovering around $30,000,” said Sam Radbil, a spokesman for the apartment matching service based in Madison, Wis.
But in metro Denver, only 25.5 percent of millennials, defined as those 18 to 34, were still living at home. That is the fourth lowest stay-at-home rate after Austin, Texas; Seattle; and Columbus, Ohio.
What sets Denver apart, however, is that millennials here are not only more likely to have a job, but to earn a higher wage when they do find work compared to other metros. At $2,482, the median monthly income of all metro Denver millennials ranked highest outside of Seattle and San Francisco. And Denver’s millennial unemployment rate of 7.2 percent is the lowest in the country after Kansas City and ahead of the 10.1 percent millennial unemployment rate nationally.