For the first time, Colorado College’s “State of the Rockies” survey included Idaho voters. The survey, conducted by two research companies with opposing political leanings, polls registered voters across the West on issues of conservation, environment, energy, the role of government, trade-offs with economies, and citizen priorities (see their methodology here). Only 18% of participants have “not lived in a small town.”
Unsurprisingly, 76% of Idaho voters view themselves as conservationists, while 84% say they are outdoor recreation enthusiasts. We’ve got unparalleled outdoor experiences on our doorstep, so it makes sense that we would like our natural resources managed wisely now and for future generations.
Surprisingly, in the hotbed of public land and energy development issues, two-thirds of voters in Utah favor emphasis on protecting water, air quality and wildlife as opposed to producing more energy from public lands. This aligns with 64% of western voters who favor providing opportunities to visit and recreate on our national public lands over energy development, which can hinder access. For instance, a uranium mine has guarded fencing as opposed to a grazing allotment, which allows for access.
A few other revelations of the survey are worth sharing. Some information might not be new, but should certainly turn the heads of our elected and appointed decision makers if they wish to represent our outdoor values over those of special interests.
81% say the presence of public lands and our lifestyle of outdoor recreation gives us an advantage over other parts of the country in regards to our economic future and attracting good jobs and innovative companies. 94% of Idahoans agree that the economy of hunting, fishing, camping, wildlife tourism – and those who manufacture and sell equipment for those activities – will be important to our state’s future.
Sportsmen use public lands far more than anyone! 91% visit public lands once a year while almost one-third visit public lands over 20 times a year. Most of us in Idaho would say that’s still probably not enough!
66% of Idaho voters want to keep the current plans to conserve sage-grouse habitat.
Near equal numbers of western Democrats and Republicans, proportionally, consider themselves outdoor recreation enthusiasts and among them 31% are hunters and 37% anglers. Rural residents are more likely to identify (80%) as outdoor recreationists.
75% of Idahoans plan to visit a National Park in 2018 and there isn’t one in Idaho!
Take a look for yourself. There were a lot more questions asked with interesting correlations to political party affiliation, rural/urban dynamics, and state to state comparisons. For example:
All images were provided by Colorado College at https://www.coloradocollege.edu/other/stateoftherockies/conservationinthewest/2018/index.html