A group of economists and other academics say the public lands in the West are tied to economic prosperity in the region. Such lands help to "attract innovative companies and workers," according to a letter sent by the group that calls for the government to protect more land. "We can argue that some places and regions are important to people around the world," said University of Idaho geography professor Gundars Rudzitis. "The Amazon is one such place and the American West is another. What makes them special are the public lands."