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Know the West

Beauty prized above all

  It may come as a surprise to developers, but the Grand Canyon region's lower-income residents favor protecting the environment over promoting economic growth. So says a recent survey, Grand Canyon Reflections: A Report on the Environmental Values, Attitudes and Beliefs of the Residents of the Grand Canyon Region, by Northern Arizona University's social research laboratory. Despite low-paying jobs and a high cost of living, over half of the 600 residents surveyed said they stay in the region for its scenic beauty and climate. Eighty-two percent of respondents favored limiting development, and 66 percent supported limiting tourism and population growth. A majority also supported community rights over individual property-owner interests and approved of continued government management of public lands.

The nonprofit Grand Canyon Trust, which commissioned the random telephone survey, notes that Native American households were underrepresented because few have phones. A free copy of the 22-page survey ($2 postage) can be ordered from the trust's headquarters at 520/774-7488.