A peerreviewed national study, released late this spring, shows that, in urban areas across three regions of the country, owning a home near a national wildlife refuge increases home value and helps support the surrounding communitys tax base.
The report is the first national study to analyze wildlife refuges impact on land values. Researchers based their findings on 2000 U.S. Census data.
According to the study, conducted for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by economic researchers at North Carolina State University, homes located within half a mile of a refuge and within eight miles of an urban center were found to have higher home values of roughly seven to nine percent in the Southeast; four to five percent in the Northeast; and three to six percent in the California/Nevada region.
National wildlife refuges are public treasures that protect imperiled wildlife and delight visitors, said Service Director Dan Ashe. These findings remind us that refuges also boost community health, sometimes in unexpected ways. National wildlife refuges enrich local communities even in a lean economyand generate revenue.
Calculated in 2000 dollars, the 14 refuges in the Southeast examined in the study added $122 million to local property values. The 11 refuges studied in the Northeast added $95 million. The 11 refuges studied in California/Nevada added $83 million.
The researchers surmised that refuges boost property values in the selected regions because refuges protect against future development while preserving scenic vistas and other natural amenity benefits associated with open spaces.
Researchers did not include data from the Midwest, Southwest, Rocky Mountains and Northwest, where refuges tend to be located farther from urban centers than in the Northeast, Southeast and California/Nevada regions. Most refuges in the mountain and southcentral portions of the country either failed to meet study criteria or were affected by factors that make assessing their impact difficult, such as their location in a river floodplain or near the border with Mexico.
Our wildlife refuges are strong economic engines that generate and support jobs in communities across
the country, said Refuge System Chief Jim Kurth. When President Obama signed an executive order earlier this year to promote travel and tourism in the United States he was affirming that investing in our refuges and promoting them to visitorsfrom here and around the worldcan contribute to both an improved National Wildlife Refuge System and economic growth for local communities.
The lead researcher on the new report, titled Amenity Values of Proximity to National Wildlife Refuges, was Laura O. Taylor with North Carolina State University. The full report is at: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/about/pdfs/NWRSAmenityReportApril2012with