When I start to advocate for Thunder Wilds, one of the main arguments against me will be that the cost is too great. I will say “No its not, go look at my blog and see why.” This is because first of all, it costs almost no money to create Thunder Wilds, and second, it will actually generate not only income for itself, but also for the towns within miles and miles. Here’s how.
The location of Thunder Wilds would be in areas that are experiencing significant depopulation in rural communities and small towns. It is a major megatrend, happening worldwide as more and more people head to the cities. In many rural communities, towns are shrinking; school systems are struggling with reduced enrollment and reduced budgets. This is leading to layoffs of teachers, the elimination of important educational programs, the consolidation of school systems, and longer and longer bus rides for the students. When the schools and then the small town grocery store goes there is little hope.
Families that have been living on their ranch and passing it on to their children for generations, but now find that their kids cannot make a living as they did. Kids are moving to the cities, and leaving their parents to age by themselves back on the land. The farming and ranching lifestyles are disappearing along with the high quality of life and self-determination that these family businesses enjoyed.
In many rural counties only the towns that are county seats seem to be secure. Many formally vibrant towns have disappeared altogether. Their people have migrated to the cities and lost all connection to the land where their forefathers lived and worked. But we can change all that, with Pleistocene Rewilding.
Thunder Wilds will be a powerful economic engine. Think about Yellowstone and the amazing economic benefits it provides to Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho and the gateway communities leading into the park. Thousands of small towns are declining in rural areas across the west and they would love to have a Yellowstone on their doorstep, but a Pleistocene Park is even better than Yellowstone. Instead of a large park that is owned and operated by the government, the ownership and management of the Thunder Wilds would include ranchers, landowners, businessmen, and small towns as co-owners, co-managers, and co-investors. The key component would be the landowners of the region, who would be offered the opportunity to invest in the Thunder Wilds enterprise, and to lease of their land as habitat for Pleistocene wildlife. In return, they would receive their share of the profits from the enterprise, opportunities to participate in the park management and the development of guest services, and the opportunity to give their family and children high quality lifestyles and business opportunities on their land in the great outdoors for generations to come.