Best of the West: Western States lead in well-being, jobs; wildlife corridor improvements in Wyoming; California’s fossil finds


The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting March 4, 2019 that you don't want to miss.

Eight of the top ten states with the highest well-being levels are in the West, according to Gallup. Hawaii (pictured) took the top spot, with Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota and North Dakota rounding out western states in the top ten.

The annual Gallup report, based on more than 115,000 surveys, calculated the rankings based on five essential elements of well-being including career, social, financial, community and physical.

The West also leads the country in job growth. Nevada, Utah, Washington, Idaho, Texas, Arizona and Colorado experienced the strongest percentage gains in the country in 2018, according to estimates compiled from the Labor Department’s Current Employment Statistics program.

“Our state has started 2019 on solid economic footing with job growth remaining in line with our long-run average,” said Utah Department of Workforce Services chief economist Carrie Mayne. “Jobseekers are also faring well, with unemployment holding at a low level.”

You Found Your Parks: More than 300 million visits to national parks were recorded across the country in 2018. Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Zion and Yellowstone were among the top five most visited National Parks last year. For an in-depth look, view the National Park Service report.  

Animal X-ing: To protect wildlife and reduce vehicle crashes, Wyoming is taking steps to improve migration corridors. The state’s Game and Fish Department has proposed to designate and protect two ungulate migration corridors and collaborating with the Wyoming Department of Transportation to study moose in the Jackson area and influence the reconstruction of nearby highways. 

Green Means Go: Technology being tested in Colorado may allow drivers to hit more green lights and reduce traffic jams. Some new vehicles are integrating traffic signal data to show drivers when a red light will end, or what speed to drive to make the next green light. Learn how the technology could be implemented nationwide.

Dig This: Paleontologists working with the Metro Purple Line Extension project in California have unearthed hundreds of fossils near Beverly Hills. The ancient bones of bison, mammoths, saber-toothed cats, camels and horses are currently being held at the La Brea Tar Pits Museum.

Get the latest news about the West and its governors by following the Western Governors' Association on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

sign up for our newsletters