Community Futures

Public lands and the outdoor recreational opportunities they afford offer economic assets to communities around the country. The quality of life they permit improves the health and wellbeing of citizens, while their ability to attract not only recreationists, but also tourists, baby boomers retiring to greener pastures, and entrepreneurs, who in turn create economic diversity, is well documented. As Headwaters Economics notes, “[C]ounties with more federal lands or protected federal lands perform better on average than their peers with less federal lands or protected federal lands in key economic measures.”

This track focuses on investments in public lands as a way to drive economic growth in communities around America.

Specific panels include: 

Transition Towns: How communities around America—particularly ones for which logging, mining, and oil and gas have been the historic economic engines—are using investments in public lands and outdoor recreation to drive economic growth

Moderator: Jason Keith, Public Land Solutions (2017 SHIFT Award Official Selection)


  • Mayor Lori Buck, Fruita, CO
  • Paul Schurke, President, Wintergreen’s, Ely, Minnesota
  • Mayor Dan Rankin, Darrington, WA
  • Marshall Maseyesva, Hopi Nation (2017 Emerging Leader)
  • Gail Fanjoy, past President, Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce

Beyond Tourism: How public lands and the quality of life they permit can attract entrepreneurs, who in turn can create economic diversity


  • Scott Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Silicon Couloir, Jackson, WY
  • Josh Dorfman, Asheville, NC
  • Bob Pulley, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
  • John Wentworth, Mayor, Mammoth Lakes, CA
  • Paul Major, Telluride Ventures, Telluride, CO

The Designation Effect: How the economies of national monument gateway communities around the country have been impacted by the designations

Moderator: Kyle Sullivan, Manager, Mojave Trails National Monument (2017 Emerging Leader) 


  • Carrie Hamblen, CEO, Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce (Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument)
  • Suzanne Catlett, President, Escalante Chamber of Commerce (Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument)
  • Cynthia Wilson, Traditional Foods Program Director, Utah Diné Bikéyah, Bears Ears National Monument (2017 SHIFT Award Official Selection)
  • Dave Conine, Rural Development Director, United States Department of Agriculture

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