Wild and scenic rivers: An economic perspective
To date, economic valuation studies have focused on individual rivers and not the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System (NWSRS) as a whole. Following Morton (1999), we provide a brief conceptual taxonomy of on- and off-site economic benefits that might be relevant to the NWSRS. These benefits include values associated with individual rivers within the NWSRS and benefits of the system, including ecosystem services. The published empirical literature is also reviewed, focusing on the economic valuation of wild and scenic rivers. Although the empirical studies and valuation results are relatively sparse, we provide a qualitative and quantitative summary and assessment of these results and an assessment of the economic impacts of wild and scenic rivers on local communities. Finally, we identify and discuss the shortcomings in the existing body of economic literature and resulting research needs to better understand the economic value and impacts of wild and scenic rivers.