WASHINGTON, June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The best nature-friendly places to
live in the United States were announced today in a new book published by
Island Press. Entitled "Nature-Friendly Communities," the book highlights
nineteen communities that lead the nation in safeguarding local landscapes,
natural resources and wildlife. It is the first resource of its kind to
provide a step-by-step guide to help government officials and planners protect
open space and natural areas while promoting economic growth.
"More than 80 million of us fish, hunt, and watch wildlife annually,
spending $108 billion on equipment and trips associated with nature-related
activities, with $40 billion linked to wildlife watching alone," said Chris
Duerksen, author of "Nature-Friendly Communities," which hit bookstores today.
"For the first time, nature enthusiasts have a resource for choosing among the
nation's best places to live and visit."
Creating nature-friendly communities not only improves the quality of life
for residents but also reaps millions of dollars for local economies,
according to the book. Property values rise, boosting tax revenues;
infrastructure costs decline; new employers move in, expanding the job base;
and tourism increases. While state and federal governments continue to weaken
wildlife and nature-related protections, cities, towns and counties are
stepping up efforts to protect nature, improving the lives of local residents
and cashing in on a multi-billion dollar opportunity.
"In the face of rampant development which is eating up America's open
space, communities have employed creative conservation measures that actually
promote economic growth and vitality -- not inhibit it," added Duerksen.
"These communities are learning that protecting nature makes not just good
sense but good dollars and cents. And a growing number of communities are
joining the ranks in taking bold steps to invest in their natural assets."
The benefits of nature-friendly communities affect residents of all income
levels. For example, citizens exercise more frequently if a greenway is
nearby; more trees and vegetation provide better air quality; and low income
residents of urban areas that protect nature are more likely to have access to
affordable recreational opportunities.
"Nature-Friendly Communities" shines a spotlight on the most successful
approaches to protecting nature and the great work happening in communities
across the country. And it provides public officials and planning
professionals, working on the local and regional levels, with how-to tools to
incorporate natural area protection in city and county planning efforts.
"Americans have shown time and again they are willing to pay for nature
protection," added Duerksen. "We consistently approve funding measures for
land conservation whether our local economies are thriving or not. This book
shows that if citizens make the commitment they can easily transform their
communities into nature-friendly areas. The tools are there for all
communities, regardless of size, political bent, or economic health."
2005 Nature-Friendly Communities
Below is the list of the nineteen nature-friendly communities. Loudoun
County, VA originally made the list, but recent political developments
undermine nature-friendly measures. So rather than remove it, the author uses
Loudoun as an example of the fragile nature of well-intended plans in the face
of political pressures.
Austin, TX Sanibel, FL Farmington Valley, CT
Baltimore County, MD Twin Cities, MN King County, WA
Dane County, WI Bath Township, OH Pittsford, NY
Eugene, OR Charlotte Harbor, FL Powell County, MT
Fort Collins, CO Chicago, IL Teton County, WY
Pima County, AZ Dekalb County, GA Traverse Bay, MI
Placer County, CA
Chris Duerksen is a nationally recognized land use planning consultant who
has worked with local governments all over the country. He is Managing
Director of Clarion Associates and a cofounder of the Rocky Mountain Land Use
Institute. He has authored many books and articles on land use and
conservation issues. And he served two terms on the Fredericksburg, VA city
council. Cara Snyder is an independent consultant and writer. She was
formerly an associate at Clarion Associates and has a Master of Science in
Environmental Education from the Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley
About Island Press:
Island Press is the only nonprofit organization in the United States whose
principle purpose is the publication of books on environmental issues and
natural resource management. The publisher provides solutions-oriented
information to professionals, public officials, business and community
leaders, and concerned citizens who are shaping responses to environmental
For more information: http://www.naturefriendlytools.org
SOURCE Island Press