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Citation for publication number 370:
Richer, Jerrell Ross; Christensen, Neal A. 1999. Appropriate fees for wilderness day use: Pricing decisions for recreation on public land. Journal of Leisure Research 31(3): 269-280.
Leopold Publication Number 370
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     An appropriate fee for the use of public lands strikes a balance between the need for fee revenues, the desire to maintain access and other normative concerns: fairness, equity, others’ ability to pay and congestion. Including these other concerns in pricing decisions improves the likelihood that fees will be acceptable to users. Information was collected about wilderness visitors’ maximum willingness to pay (WTP) for a day-use fee and the price they considered appropriate (AP). Sixty-two percent of Desolation Wilderness day users stated a WTP greater than the AP. The cost of choosing a fee at the median AP ($2), rather than the revenue maximizing price ($5), is a 30% reduction in revenue, while the gain is a smaller drop in participation (17% vs. 52%). Managers are faced with complex decisions about the purpose of fee programs. Alternative purposes will lead to alternative fee levels.