Sunday, February 15, 2015

In the news.....

CEOs of a dozen venture capital firms say the solitude and recreation available on public land can be viewed as economic opportunities to attract new business to the West.   Photo of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives, on Wikimedia Commons

Investment CEOs: Public Lands a Smart Investment for U.S.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A dozen leaders of venture capital and investment firms say they think the United States should be "investing" in protecting more public land.

Members of the new "Conservation for Economic Growth Coalition" say they'll encourage Congress and the president to expand national parks and declare new national monuments and wilderness areas.

Coalition member Nancy Pfund, founder and managing partner of DBL Investors, says the skilled workers being recruited by today's tech companies like to work hard and play hard - and the recreational opportunities on public land fit the bill.

"It's very important in forming a company that your employees have a way to decompress and enjoy nature," says Pfund. "That's a big priority for a lot of folks. And so, it's important that we pay attention to that link."

The coalition is made up of high-profile investment partners and CEOs, who say they also favor reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which expires next year.

Pfund says the coalition isn't suggesting edging out industries such as mining and logging - but sees those resources as finite, and their markets as fickle.

"We are able to balance our need for minerals, for timber rights, with the growing need we have for recreational, preserved areas," she says. "And with a prudent management approach, you don't need to give up any kind of economic growth." 

She points out that many entrepreneurs today could live anywhere - and particularly in the West, the places that attract them have learned how to capitalize on their natural beauty or even their remoteness, as different types of assets that allow them to diversify