Putting county's last cattle rancher out of business
Editor's Note: Ryan Yonk is an assistant professor at Southern Utah University who has been working with Utah State University's Brian C. Steed and Randy Simmons of the Department of Economics and Finance in the Huntsman School of Business to study protected lands and their economic impacts.
The Las Vegas Review Journal
The federal Bureau of Land Management has suspended plans to seize the 500 to 750 head of cattle run by Clark County rancher Cliven Bundy south of Mesquite - and 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas - for now.
But Bundy, 65, realizes this is just a truce in an ongoing battle. Both the Mesquite City Council and the Clark County Commission have expressed support for a plan to turn the entire Gold Butte region into a federal conservation area. Mark Andrews, a local photographer who's frequented the area for 35 years, writes in that the "BLM and the Friends of Gold Butte group have removed countless miles of road and open land access from free use. Places I used to go for decades are now blockaded. These are roads that are nearly 100 years old and in steady use. And this activity has become very aggressive and pronounced in the last 24 months."
A June 2011 study conducted by researchers at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, Utah State University, holds otherwise.
"We find that when controlling for other types of federally held land and additional factors impacting economic conditions, federally designated Wilderness negatively impacts local economic conditions," wrote USU researchers Brian C. Steed, Ryan M. Yonk and Randy Simmons. "Specifically, we find a significant negative relationship between the presence of Wilderness and county total payroll, county tax receipts, and county average household income."
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