Financing Public Recreation Lands: Attitudes About Alternative Policies

Authors

  • Mihail Samnaliev
  • Thomas More
  • Thomas Stevens

Abstract

Th is study examined public opinion about alternatives to increased fees for public recreation, including donations and corporate sponsorship from a random sample of Idaho and New Hampshire residents. Analysis of over 800 responses to a four part mail questionnaire suggested that a mixed policy including donations, adopt-a-site and corporate sponsorships (for some areas) may be the most popular way to raise revenue while maintaining non-exclusivity of public recreation lands. Respondents preferred to keep public lands aff ordable and non-exclusive; both increased taxation and user fees received support by only about 39 % of respondents. Regular visitors were less likely to support user fees as compared to non visitors and high-income respondents were more supportive of user fees and corporate sponsorship. Very little difference in public attitudes between the two states was observed. However, a relatively large (9 % to 22 %) of respondents were ‘not sure’ about several policy options. For example, about 18% were not sure about their support for corporate sponsorship, and 22% were not sure about contracting with private companies to manage recreation areas. Consequently, public opinion remains malleable and agencies should probably move with caution in implementing financial alternatives.

Published

2006-07-18

Issue

Section

Regular Papers