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Report: Utah's Protected Public Lands Attract Retirees

PHOTO: A new report says more Americans are retiring to communities in the West, such as St. George, that are home to protected public lands such as Zion National Park. Photo credit: U.S. Department of Transportation.
PHOTO: A new report says more Americans are retiring to communities in the West, such as St. George, that are home to protected public lands such as Zion National Park. Photo credit: U.S. Department of Transportation.
March 16, 2015

ST. GEORGE, Utah - Older Americans are three times more likely to retire in areas of Utah and other Western states that have protected public lands - such as Zion National Park near St. George, according to a new report from the Center for Western Priorities.

Gregg McArthur, chief executive of the St. George Chamber of Commerce, said retirees also are a boon to local economies.

"The retirement segment is usually individuals who are successful individuals that have disposable income," he said. "It's a great segment of the economy, retirees moving into the area."

The report found that about 35,000 retirees moved into Utah in the first decade of this century, which created nearly 20,000 jobs. It also found that more than a half-million people retired to 11 Western states in the same time period, creating about 300,000 jobs.

Despite St. George being well-known for its close proximity to Zion National Park and other attractions, McArthur said, the Chamber of Commerce is constantly promoting what the community has to offer.

"We tell the world about reasons why you'd want to visit here or relocate here," he said. "So that is part of the things we do. We do it through our website. We mail out area guides that tell about everything you'd want to know about Southern Utah and St. George."

As an estimated 10,000 Americans retire each day, McArthur said, he expects the retiree population in Southern Utah will continue to grow.

The report is online at westernpriorities.org/goldenrush.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT