Fees and Visitor Preferences for the Chena River Recreation Area, Alaska
Keywords:recreation demand, contingent valuation method, Alaska
AbstractMany recreation areas in Alaska are experiencing increases in visitor demand without matching budget increases. The managers of these areas have been faced with difficult decisions, such as the reduction of some services and/or the introduction of user fees. The Chena River State Recreation Area is one of these areas. This study investigates two questions. First, what services (trail information, parking, ranger presence, etc) are preferred? Second, how would visitation change with the institution of a new summer user fee? The answers to both of these questions are estimated with a visitor survey that was conducted in May through September of 1999. Visitors were asked about their preferences with respect to the services offered in the recreation area. Next, they were asked about their willingness to pay a user fee in order to estimate the decrease in visitation that may result from a new user fee. In order to estimate willingness to pay, two types of Contingent Valuation Methods were employed. Survey procedures and study results are briefly outlined. Estimates found that the participation in and preference for non-motorized activities were higher than that of motorized activities. It was also estimated that a 30% decrease in visitation might occur with the introduction of a $5 fee.
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