Behavioral Consequences of Campground User Fees


  • Thomas A. More
  • Daniel L. Dustin
  • Richard C. Knof


Levying fees for the use of public lands has been one of the most controversial topics in outdoor recreation over the last decade. While many agencies have embraced fees as a way to generate revenue or recover costs, we contend that not all implications of fees are fully understood. In this study, we conducted an experiment with 910 southern California campers to examine the effects of fees on campers' expectations and behavior. The results indicate that campers perceive a clear role for government in the provision of camping, but they also believe that it is appropriate to ask users to bear a portion of the provision costs. As fees increase, the number of facilities and amenities expected by campers also increases significantly. Fees have less effect on what visitors consider to be appropriate behavior, however. We conclude that when fee programs are initiated, the public asks: "What are we getting for our money?" The answer has implications for customer satisfaction and may alter the basis upon which the camping experience is judged.





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