Using contingent valuation method to determine optimal user fees for the recreational use of McDonald Forest, Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/wd376046n

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  • Forest recreation is one of the many non-commodity functions of forests that have experienced a rapid growth in demand in the past few decades. Even faster growth in demand for recreation is expected for several decades. However, such growing demand for forest recreation is often not well perceived by owners or managers of forests and thus is not well incorporated into their resource allocation decisions. This can be attributed to two major problems: the difficulty in correctly measuring the economic value of non-marketed goods and the lack of a proper system (institution) under which the economic value can be transferred into actual revenue. The contingent valuation method (CVM) is one of the techniques to elicit people's willingness to pay for non-marketed goods and services. On the other hand, the recreational user fee system has been proposed as a method to transfer economic value of recreation into actual revenue. This paper describes a case study in which a CVM survey was administered to recreationists in McDonald Forest, Oregon. The dichotomous-choice format was chosen for the CVM. The survey elicited the economic value of recreation in the forest, and the consequences of charging a lump sum annual fee were examined. The economic value of(i.e., recreationists' willingness to pay for) recreational opportunities in McDonald Forest was estimated to be around 80,000 to 100,000 dollars per year, slightly exceeding the current level of spending on recreational management in the forest. It was also estimated that charging an annual fee to the recreationists could generate gross revenue of up to 21,000 dollars per year, but it was shown that the fee revenue could not completely cover the current level of spending at any single level of fee price. Further, it was estimated that a fee would have discriminatory impacts on less frequent users and hikers compared with frequent users and those who participate in more specialized activities such as biking, horseback riding, running, and dog walking. However, it was not clear whether a fee would have distinguishable impacts on different income levels, although there was a statistical evidence of difference.
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