About Us

Headwaters Economics is an independent, nonprofit research group that works to improve community development and land management decisions.

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Headwaters Economics provides original and effective research to help people and organizations develop solutions to some of the most urgent and important issues that communities face.

How We Work

The team at Headwaters Economics blends innovative, credible research with extensive on-the-ground experience. We have worked with a range of partners for more than 30 years and are leading experts in our field.

Headwaters Economics works with community leaders, landowners, public land managers, elected officials, and business owners. Our goal is to give these partners credible information to help them identify, understand, and solve problems.

Our work ranges from topics such as economic development, disadvantaged populations, the value of public lands, wildfire, and fiscal policy. In all our work, we strive to improve our partners’ ability to make well-informed decisions based on transparent and accountable information.

Headwaters Economics determines what research topics to pursue and the best way to interpret research findings. Our research also goes through peer review, and is routinely published in scientific journals such as the Journal of Forestry, Solutions Journal, Journal of Rural Studies, Landscape and Urban Planning, Society and Natural Resources, Growth and Change, and Human Ecology Review.

Our History

Based in Montana, Headwaters Economics was founded on a passion for the people and landscapes of the American West. While we originally focused on working with rural western communities, the challenges associated with community development and land management extend across the country.

Today, we partner with communities ranging from Bend, Oregon to Cleveland, Ohio to Millinocket, Maine. In every project we tackle, our staff brings decades of experience, a commitment to rigorous research, and a deep dedication to helping communities thrive in a changing world.

Read About Our Work

Read our newsletter, browse recent news coverage, view a recent profile of Executive Director Ray Rasker, or access Headwaters Economics’ most recent research.


Headwaters Economics receives funding from a wide variety of sources as part of our mission to improve community development and land management decisions.

Our revenue comes from numerous places: federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service; partnerships on specific projects, including the Montana Legislature, Madison County, Montana, and Stanford University; local development or community organizations such Economic Development Central Oregon and the Seattle Foundation; charitable foundations, such as the Kendeda Fund and the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust; and contract work for non-profit organizations.

Contact Us

Headwaters Economics
Mail: P.O. Box 7059, Bozeman MT 59771
Deliveries: 270 W. Kagy, Suite G, Bozeman MT 59715 (Google Map)
Phone: 406.599.7841
Email: kelly@headwaterseconomics.org

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