Resource allocation and the ability to pay : a case study of float permits in Hells Canyon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/9593tz661

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  • Rationing float use on many of the nation's whitewater rivers is a significant issue in recreation management. Alleged inequities in the rationing policies used in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area prompted an evaluation of procedures for allocating private and commercial float use on the Hells Canyon portion of the Snake River. This paper proposed and tested a resource allocation model based on the theoretical assumption that identifiable user characteristics would influence both the perceptions and the evaluations of five rationing mechanisms: pricing, reservation, lottery, first-come/firstserved, and merit. A literature review identified each alternative's "hypothesized currency" and helped develop a theoretical framework and testable hypotheses. The model was tested using a questionnaire administered to private and commercial boaters in Hells Canyon during August, 1978. The questionnaire first outlined the five alternatives and then asked respondents to evaluate their perceived ability to obtain permits, perceived fairness, acceptability, and willingness to try each alternative. It also measured relevant user characteristics. Respondents preferred the reservation alternative, followed by pricing, lottery, merit, and first-come/first-served, respectively. User characteristics had little or no effect on perceptions or evaluations of allocation alternatives. However, several other interesting relationships were uncovered. Systems perceived as offering the best chance to obtain permits were most likely to be evaluated as "fair." In addition, systems were more likely to be judged "acceptable" if they were perceived as "fair." However, willingness to actually try a system was dependent on perceived ability to get a permit rather than on the more abstract notion of fairness. Theoretical and management implications of the findings are discussed.
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