Amenity-based development has been seen as a feasible alternative for resource extraction dependent communities, as it can lead to a more diversified economy (Che, 2003). In lieu of the boom-bust cycles of extraction industries that degrade amenities within the community, amenity-based development encourages migration of retirees, entrepreneurs, and other quality-of-life migrants. Further, research suggests that amenity-based development engenders a positive feedback loop, attracting migrants who prefer appreciative outdoor recreation like hiking or camping over depreciative recreation like all terrain vehicle use (Peterson, Angela & Liu 2007). Amenity-based development has swept the western states, with nearly seventy percent of all new jobs belonging to the service sector since 1970 (U.S. Department of Commerce 2004). Luckily, this move from extractive industries seems to have been beneficial to rural economies. Nonmetropolitan amenity-rich counties have experienced the highest levels of population and employment growth, with nonmetropolitan communities near protected lands growing faster than those dominated by extractive industries (McGranahan 1999; Lorah, Southwick 2003). Research suggests that proximity to public lands is not only generally indicative of greater natural amenities, but also of increased personal income – in some areas as much as sixty percent (U.S. Department of Commerce 2004).

Amenity-based development for both migrants and tourists has been evaluated in several case studies. John Keith et al (1996) examined employment patterns in rural Utah, which’s economy has experienced a change from resource extraction and agriculture to tourism and service industries. Their study evaluated the validity of amenity-based development as an economic development strategy. The economic activities of the study’s 24 counties were separated into five specialization categories: extractive, manufacturing, utilities, recreation (and tourism), and government. The study determined which category dominated each county, and used this information to compare the economic cycles of those counties. This method is also proved an effective means comparing the boom-bust cycles associated with extractive industries with the high and low seasons of tourism cycles. The study found tourism-dependent counties frequently experienced high seasons 1.4 to 1.7times greater than low season employment compared to only 1.1 to 1.2 growths for boom cycles of extraction dependent counties. In conclusion the study found tourism to be a major contributor to the growth of Utah communities, although diversified economies experienced the greatest stability.

Amenity-based development has even been show to affect migration patterns.