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CSU study shows, environment still a priority in Colorado

April 26, 2010

[Source: Coloradoan]

Coloradans steadfast in valuing recreation

Money may be scarce in this recession, but Coloradans still like to climb fourteeners; they still visit national parks; and they still value a clean environment.

That’s the conclusion of a CSU study of the impacts of the faltering economy on Coloradans’ environmental values.

When it comes to the environment, the new normal is, in many ways, the same as the old normal.

Catherine Keske, an assistant professor of soil and crop science at Colorado State University and associate director for CSU’s Institute for Livestock and the Environment, conducted a study of how much Coloradans spent on climbing 14,000-foot peaks, or “fourteeners,” in 2006 before the recession and in 2009 during the recession.

The result: hardly any difference at all.

“We value our recreation; we value our environment, so we’re not willing to give that up,” Keske said.

Visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park in 2009, for example, numbered about 3 million, roughly the same visitation the park has seen each year since 1991, according to National Park Service data.

While economic prosperity and environmental quality complement each other, she said, people here “have the realization that environmental quality affects their livelihood.”

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