Protecting California’s desert public lands with Wilderness, National Monument, and other designations not only helps plants, animals, and human health, but also local economies. In 2011, visitors to California generated $102.3 billion, which translated into $30 billion for California businesses, jobs for 893,000 Californians who work in the travel and related sectors and much needed tax income for local governments. The economic benefit of travel to the California desert meant $52.5 million in visitor-generated local tax receipts for San Bernardino County in 2010.
The proposed CDCRA works to address both preservation of desert lands and the opportunity for responsible development of renewable energy. California’s utilities are well on their way toward reaching the goal of producing 33% of electricity from renewable sources to address climate change. Well-planned, comprehensive strategies involving all stakeholders – including those that can’t speak – can result in renewable energy projects in the desert.