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American Jobs on American Lands – Restoring wildlands and the economy

For Immediate Release

J.P. Leous
Climate Change Policy Advisor
202-429-2676
Neil Shader
Communications Manager
202-429-8443

May 5, 2010

The Wilderness Society hosts panel on restoring America’s public lands and local economies while fighting climate change. 

Proving that ‘green jobs’ are more than just windmills and solar panels, The Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club hosted a panel at the Good Jobs – Green Jobs conference in Washington DC today, showing how improving our public lands can both fight a recession and the effects of climate change.

Projects removing unwanted forest roads, repairing fish culverts, treating invasive species and restoring wetlands can employ thousands and have high rates of return: it is estimated that a $1 million restoration project can create and protect nearly 30 jobs and generate $2 million in economic activity.  Additionally, these projects support the $730 billion/year active outdoor recreation economy that relies on healthy wildlands.

Speakers on the panel include Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO of Outdoor Industry Association, Tim Purinton, acting director of the Massachusetts Dept. of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration, Glenn Hurowitz, the Washington director of Avoided Deforestation Partners, Brett Berkley, senior vice president of GreenVest, and Storm Cunningham, CEO of Resolution Fund, LLC.

“The panelists explained how the challenges posed by unemployment and climate change create a powerful opportunity to revitalize our economy while restoring the backbone of our natural heritage and helping it adapt to climate change,” says J.P. Leous, Climate Change Policy advisor for The Wilderness Society and the moderator for Wednesday’s event. “From hydrologists to project managers to heavy equipment operators, a diverse collection of professionals can be employed across the country, building the resilience of America’s public lands.”

“Healthy wild places and open spaces are critical to the health of our national economy,” says Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO of Outdoor Industry Association, “they are the backbone for 6.5 million jobs and a $289 billion outdoor retail industry. I hope that we can finally reject the false myth that conservation stunts economic growth and job creation.”

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The Wilderness Society is the leading public-lands conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care about our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 500,000 members and supporters, TWS has led the effort to permanently protect 110 million acres in 44 states.