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View Poll Results: Are the Western states in their entirety that are developing too fast?
Yes there's many states developing too fast and there's not enough undisturbed places 28 36.84%
Most portions of the West developing at about the right, sensible pace 23 30.26%
There's many portions of the West that could be developing faster 25 32.89%
Voters: 76. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-20-2019, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Mars City
5,536 posts, read 2,407,292 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCHP View Post
The irony with this sentiment is over half of CO as a whole is populated with transplants. When the ratio in the Denver metro area is examined, the percentage is even greater with some estimates of 60-65% of the population originating form somewhere else. It is often also these people who having secured their slice of CO, that become some of the most vocal advocates of limiting growth and not letting any more people in.
It's certainly possible that fairly recent newcomers have adopted that attitude, but that's not what I saw and experienced first-hand in the years I was there. Nearly all "complainees" were Colorado natives. And the longer they had been there generationally, the deeper the indoctrination and outward bellyaching.

It's hilarious too because no one can keep people out of Colorado, or regulate who can come or limit numbers. The talk is ultimately futile, and only exists as whining and complaining since there is no other avenue or outlet. In other words, that's the best they can do. It also identifies them as belonging to that "club", where natives and long-timers can pat each other on the back and give each other pep talks to help them feel better. I've never seen a state so full of itself, and so isolationist and self-absorbed with it's own ways.

Last edited by Thoreau424; 09-20-2019 at 11:32 AM..
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:08 PM
 
Location: WA Desert, Seattle native
6,179 posts, read 4,105,888 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago_Person View Post
Denver is west?
Yes, completely.
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:14 PM
 
Location: WA Desert, Seattle native
6,179 posts, read 4,105,888 times
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Interesting thread, though. I agree with others, the West is expansive so it doesn't feel very crowded once you get out of the major cities, whether it be LA, Bay Area, Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver. Compare this to the the Northeast or even the Southeast, where it feels more crowded to a more dispersed population in small to medium cities.

Here is my favorite example: No metro areas over 250,000 from Spokane, Washington to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Highway distance: 1,376 miles
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Old 09-20-2019, 09:28 PM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
4,794 posts, read 3,887,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
Ah, now it makes sense, thanks for clarifying. I assumed the water in AZ was coming from streams and rivers, not aquifers, so that makes a big difference in the sustainability of the source. I thought for sure Tuscon wouldn't have used groundwater. I guess there's not enough rain in the state for the basins to support reasonable population. So, given that, it makes sense to have a higher density and a bigger agglomerations where centralized water works have efficient scales.

It looks like the northern western states don't seem to have this same problem though.
Again it really depends on where you are. Wyoming definitely does not have many surface water sources. Neither does say, Elko. You live in Denver which has some ponds around but I know y'all use the Colorado River just like we do. So does Salt Lake City. And I'm sure you are using ground water also after massive growth. Roughly 80% of all water is salty, 20% is freshwater. Out of that 20%, only 2% is on the surface. However that does not mean the 98% of freshwater that is underground is easily accessible.

Arizona has a few rivers don't get me wrong. Phoenix became big because the valley is where three of them meet up. However they are dammed up for hydropower purposes (Phoenix is entirely powered by hydropower and nuclear) and some water is taken from there along with the canals that helps funnel some of that water towards us. Like the Salt River Project canals on the east side.

Phoenix's average water consumption is 80% freshwater and 20% groundwater, with most of that freshwater coming from local rivers.
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Old 09-20-2019, 11:06 PM
 
Location: Denver
3,346 posts, read 2,767,532 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCHP View Post
The irony with this sentiment is over half of CO as a whole is populated with transplants. When the ratio in the Denver metro area is examined, the percentage is even greater with some estimates of 60-65% of the population originating form somewhere else. It is often also these people who having secured their slice of CO, that become some of the most vocal advocates of limiting growth and not letting any more people in.

The geology and hydrology of the west meant that for centuries, it did not support nearly as much stable human life as the mid-west and eastern US. Indigenous people were often nomadic wanderers living in small bands. Those who did try to create more permanent settlements often failed. Advances in technology have allowed us to exploit this openness by damming and diverting surface water and digging ever deeper wells to access buried water. At some point, some of these resources may be exhausted and a mass exodus back to more riparian environments will begin. Want to see a humanitarian crisis, wait until millions and millions of Americans hit an eastward migration that will make the dust bowl years look like a trickle.
I'm here now the rest of you stay out! . I had a friend from Sweden in college that said the strongest supporters of anti immigration policies were first and second generation immigrants themselves.

As far as the native past of the interior western US, my understanding is that the northern section never had a favorable climate for large scale agriculture so they stayed in smaller, more stable sized bands while the southern portion had boom bust periods where the isolation allowed for large sedentary settlements that were periodically abandon when the climate dried. I believe the canals and waterways used in modern Phoenix contain many of the same routes used as the prior Hohokam. Will a big population drop happen again? It's hard to predict because today the Southwest could just import all it's food instead of relying on local agriculture.
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Old 09-21-2019, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Denver
3,346 posts, read 2,767,532 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prickly Pear View Post
Again it really depends on where you are. Wyoming definitely does not have many surface water sources. Neither does say, Elko. You live in Denver which has some ponds around but I know y'all use the Colorado River just like we do. So does Salt Lake City. And I'm sure you are using ground water also after massive growth. Roughly 80% of all water is salty, 20% is freshwater. Out of that 20%, only 2% is on the surface. However that does not mean the 98% of freshwater that is underground is easily accessible.

Arizona has a few rivers don't get me wrong. Phoenix became big because the valley is where three of them meet up. However they are dammed up for hydropower purposes (Phoenix is entirely powered by hydropower and nuclear) and some water is taken from there along with the canals that helps funnel some of that water towards us. Like the Salt River Project canals on the east side.

Phoenix's average water consumption is 80% freshwater and 20% groundwater, with most of that freshwater coming from local rivers.
The urban areas along the front range get their water primarily from reservoirs / dams both on the east and west side of the continental divide, as well as the Arkansas river. Ground water is mostly isolated communities.

According this site: The vast majority of the water for Utah is used agriculturally, and a lot of that agriculture is ranching, the least productive form.
But Utah, like the other western states, has the majority of the population clustered around that Salt Lake valley. Although looking at demographic trends, it looks like the Uintah Basin and the southwest corner are growing faster than the Salt Lake region, so it looks like the population may be unclustering on a whole.
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Old 09-30-2019, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Denver
3,346 posts, read 2,767,532 times
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Bringing this back into discussion from another angle, increasingly top outdoor destinations across the West are just getting flooded with tourists while the lesser known, almost as scenic, way more "out in nature" feeling spots are still very very empty. International tourism isn't surging, so most of the uptick is US citizens. Most all of the national parks across the west had absurd lines this summer with people. In Colorado they are increasingly making top destinations fee only / permit areas, so they still have some semblance of a nature feel and don't get trampled.

Do you agree with upping fees in National Parks and requiring permits for top destinations? It's the standard economic solution to the problem. If not what other solutions are there?

One I'd like to see is greater advertisement of the 2nd and 3rd tier destinations through media. For instance, instead of making nature videos about Rocky Mountain National Park, make one about the Gore Mountains of Colorado instead, a place where there's practically no one outside of one trail close to the towns nearby.
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Old 10-01-2019, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Aurora, Colorado
5,468 posts, read 8,333,598 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTimidBlueBars View Post
Denver's population density, as of 2017, is 4,044 people per square mile.

Detroit, which has been emptying out for decades, has block after block with one or two occupied houses on them, and is about the farthest thing you could call from "crowded", still has a density of 4,878 people per square mile.
Denver has a huge airport that takes up 1/3 of the city limits which skews the numbers.
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:25 PM
 
48 posts, read 15,838 times
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Im not a fan of urban sprawl in general but I know its a byproduct of population growth which is inevitable. Its pretty crowded southern California. With massive overdevelopment the natural environment is badly damaged beyond repair. I mean some animals thrive like coyotes and pigeons and raccoons but most animals and flora get wiped out.
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:57 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
7,361 posts, read 4,042,992 times
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When an area in the mountain west is livable and sustainable it can seem very crowded but there are natural factors that limit city growth. Water, public or Indian lands, and terrain, especially.

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