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Measuring Montana’s Outdoor Economy
New report says outdoor recreation pumps $7.1 billion into state economy and supports 71,000 jobs
COLUMBIA FALLS — For more than a century, the mountains that surround the Flathead Valley have inspired legions, from artists trying to capture the beauty on canvas to teenagers sharing the scenery through the perfect Instagram filter. But a new report suggests Montana’s scenic wonders are worth a lot more than a pretty picture.
“Montana’s public lands aren’t just for creating memories or snapping pictures for Facebook,” Sen. Jon Tester declared last week at an outdoors round table at the Cedar Creek Lodge, which was followed by a rally for public lands. “These lands bring $7.1 billion to the state’s economy every year, support 71,000 jobs and bring numerous new businesses and entrepreneurs here.”
Tester was referencing data published in a report by Headwaters Economics for the nonprofit Business for Montana’s Outdoors. The report noted that some of Montana’s fastest-growing counties are also close to federally managed public lands. Between 2000 and 2015, five counties — Gallatin, Yellowstone, Missoula, Flathead and Lewis and Clark — were responsible for 75 percent of the state’s job growth.
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REELS AND RAINBOWS EPISODE SEVENTEEN: OPEN ROAD See how Tom Jenni is casting a line into autumn in Montana.
r Wednesday night, Sept. 13 at City Hall
Whitefish Chamber members and the public are invited to take part in an Open House & Workshop on Wednesday, September 13th at City Hall, to get a progress report on – and offer input to – the Whitefish Strategic Housing Plan.
Set for 5-7 p.m. next Wednesday evening at Whitefish City Hall, Open House attendees will hear about the goals and objectives established by the Housing Plan Task Force, and the programs, projects and tools that have been identified to help tackle the housing shortage.
They’ll also get an update on the work done to-date by the Task Force and its six subcommittees, and provide valuable input to the Task Force and consultants as they work to fine-tune the Plan prior to submitting it to the City Council in November.
For more information, call the Chamber 406.862.3505 or visit www.whitefishhousing.com.
Kelley’s Market Trends: Western Montana Home Prices
Over the last 12 years, Flathead County’s median home price has been on average the highest of six western Montana counties.
This week let’s take another look at how Flathead County’s home price trend relates to other counties in Western Montana. At the peak of the market in 2007, Flathead County had the highest median home price of any of the surrounding counties. Flathead’s median was 13 percent higher than Missoula County, 4 percent higher than Lake County, 13 percent higher than Ravalli County, 35 percent higher than Lincoln County and 45 percent higher than Sanders County.
Over the last 12 years, Flathead County’s median home price has averaged 4.4 percent higher than Lake County, 44.8 percent higher than Lincoln County, 43.2 percent higher than Sanders County, 4.8 percent higher than Ravalli County and 1.6 percent higher than Missoula County.
In the first eight months of 2017, Flathead County’s median was the 14.6 percent higher than Lake County, 73.8 percent higher than Lincoln County, 50.9 percent higher than Sanders County, 3.8 percent higher than Ravalli County and 1.9 percent higher than Missoula County.
Of these six counties, Flathead County had a 7.8 percent increase in the median home price in 2017, which is higher than any of the surrounding counties. Lake County has had a 5.9 percent decline, Lincoln County has had a 12.3 percent decline, Sanders County had a 2.1 percent increase, Ravalli County has had a 6.6 percent increase, and Missoula County has had a 5.2 percent increase.