UA study shows how Western resort towns face growing pains

Credit: University of Arizona via Pinal Central

By Kyle Mittan | Pinal Central

SEDONA — Nestled among state parks, red rock buttes and breathtaking mountain vistas, Sedona is one of the most popular resort towns in the American West.

Today, many Sedona visitors and residents frequently find themselves stuck in traffic, struggling to find parking or encountering crowds of people in the wilderness. Increased tourism might be one of the reasons for these issues, but another is a large commuter workforce, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Arizona and University of Utah.

Census data shows that of the roughly 7,000 jobs in Sedona, about 5,000 of them —74% — are held by people who live outside the city limits in larger towns, such as Flagstaff and the Phoenix metropolitan area, or in adjacent rural communities in the Verde Valley. For some of those commuters, living in Sedona isn’t an option due to a cost of living their jobs can’t support, the researchers found.

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