Recreation as a Spatial Good: Distance Effects on Changes in Recreation Visitation and Benefits
The effects of travel distance on visitation and associated recreation benefits are tested for a large national park. Visitor responses to a survey depicting various natural resource scenarios at Rocky Mountain National Park were used to estimate the effects of distance traveled on nature-based tourism behavior and benefits. Distance was a significant determinant in both the visitation and contingent valuation models. Long-distance visitors were more stable in their visitation patterns in the face of natural resource changes. Marginal recreational benefits per trip increased with distance but at a decreasing rate. However, in-state visitors accrued higher annual benefits because of greater trip frequency. The relative importance of visitor types can help private and public decision-makers better respond to different visitor needs. The findings also provide a unique perspective on consumer spatial tradeoffs and the national value of recreational resources.
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