The article, "About one-third of land in Whatcom County is set aside as public land" (Bellingham Herald, July 19, 2014). misses the point about the benefit of public lands.
Businesses create jobs by leveraging nearby parks and public lands. Additionally, proximity to outdoor recreation areas, trails and parks can bolster and protect home values and reduce crime.
People want to live and work where they can enjoy the outdoors close to home. This also reduces the dependence upon transportation and related costs for gas. I have seen this quality-of-life issue over and over again in my experience as a Realtor.
According to Headwaters Economics, incomes were $4,360 higher in Western U.S. counties with 100,000 acres of public lands than in similar counties with no public lands in 2010. Over the last 40 years, counties with more than 30 percent public land increased jobs by 262 percent more than similar counties with no public land.
As a lifetime Whatcom County resident, I have observed that without access to our treasured recreation places, we would miss out on the many health, emotional and cultural benefits the outdoors provide. We need these spaces to maintain our quality of life, as well as increased property values.