Rocky Mountains: Economy and Natural Resources
Exploitable mineral deposits (lead, zinc, copper, silver, gold) are sparsely dispersed throughout the entire system. The principal mining centers are Leadville and Cripple Creek, Colo.; the Butte-Anaconda district of Montana; Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; and the Kootenay Trail region of British Columbia. In the 1970s oil shale found in the Rocky Mt. area led to an oil industry that spurred city and state growth, especially in Colorado; by the mid-1980s, the industry was already in decline.
Vast forests, largely under government control and supervision, are a major natural resource. Lumbering and other forestry activities are limited mainly to Montana, Idaho, and British Columbia, where commercially valuable stands are most abundant and accessible.
The Rockies are a year-round recreational attraction, and the surrounding states have seen a boom in vacation-housing construction and, thus, population increases since the late 1970s. The U.S. national parks in the system include Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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