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The effects of fire on hiking demand: a travel cost study of Colorado and Montana

Author(s): Hayley Hesseln, John B. Loomis, Armando Gonzalez-Caban
Year Published: 2003

Surveys were conducted on 33 sites within National Forests in Colorado and Montana to test how forest fires affected recreation demand in the two states. Data were collected on the actual number of visits and on the intended number of visits if the area had been subject to a recent high intensity crown fire, a recent prescribed fire, or an old crown fire (all depicted in photos). A travel cost model was estimated by pooling actual and intended visitation responses in both states. Results indicate that Montana hikers take slightly more trips but have lower net benefits or consumer surplus ($12 per trip) than do Colorado visitors ($55 per trip). Also, the demand functions do not react similarly to prescribed fires. Whereas annual values in Colorado increase over time, there were no significant changes in visitation or net benefits for Montana respondents. However, demand functions do react similarly in response to crown fires, resulting in a decrease in visitation and value over time. This latter result provides evidence in support of increased fuels management as outlined by the National Fire Plan.

Citation: Hesseln, Hayley; Loomis, John B.; Gonzalez-Caban, Armando. 2003. The effects of fire on hiking demand: a travel cost study of Colorado and Montana. In: Proceedings of the conference on fire, fuel treatments, and ecological restoration; 2002 April 16-18; Proceedings. RMRS-P-29. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 177-186.
Topic(s): Fire Communication & Education, Public Perspectives of Fire Management, Fire & Economics, Fire & Recreation
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
NRFSN number: 10968
FRAMES RCS number: 2494
Record updated: Sep 8, 2020