Democracy and Leisure: Reflections on Pay-As-You-Go Outdoor Recreation
Keywords:User fees, merit goods, conservation history, psychology of leisure, recreation policy.
AbstractThere is strong and growing interest in user fees for public outdoor recreation. Historical and contemporary arguments for recreation as a merit good suggest that we should move cautiously in such a major policy shift. This paper outlines Frederick Law Olmsted's ideas of the benefits to democratic government of both the personal and social dimensions of outdoor recreation experiences. The classical leisure ideal, current psychological conceptions of play, and the social phenomenon of leisure subcultures all elaborate Olmsted's seminal concepts and define the merit goods of outdoor recreation. Policy guidelines are proposed which could lead to management guidelines for user fee systems.
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