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The "New West" Key Events Maps Transcript Webography

Is the New West still a distinct region, or just another place in a homogeneous American Landscape?


By the 1990s, the vast spaces that had once made most places in the American West hard to reach were shrinking as more and more towns and cities built airports. Trips that had once taken weeks were now matters of mere hours.

Map of Airports.

Internet Connections

This 1997 map represents the dawning of the Internet age in the region once termed "remote beyond compare." But within months, this map was obsolete. The Internet, the World Wide Web, cellular telephone service, and a growing array of portable communications devices made even backcountry wilderness areas instantly accessible to anyone with the ability to dial up.

Map of Internet Connectivity

Population Growth

The Rocky Mountain West was, at century's end, the fastest growing region in the U.S. Eight Rocky Mountain states were in the top ten fastest growing states in the nation, and the region attracted net population gain from every region of the country.

Map of population growth

Tourist Industry

The American economy as a whole now relies on services and information rather than industrial production. Westerners have turned to services too, but with a distinctive twist, catering to tourists in search of outdoor adventure. Skiers, hikers, fishers, mountain bikers, and golfers now power the local economies of dozens of Western towns.

Map of tourist attractions

Public Lands

From the time of the Louisiana Purchase, the West has embodied the public domain in the U.S. And to a remarkable extent, Western land is still public land. Uses of the public's real estate range from wilderness preservation to logging and grazing to bombing and storage of nuclear waste. This land truly is your land.

Map of Public lands

Something More

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