Demand for and Economic Value of Nonmotorized Boating Access in Rivers at US National Forests

  • Authors: Chapagain, Binod; Poudyal, Neelam; Bowker, J; Askew, Ashley; English, Donald; Hodges, Donald G.
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: Journal of Forestry
  • DOI: 10.1093/jofore/fvab006


Nonmotorized boating (NMB) is a popular recreation activity in the US National Forest System. Previous studies on NMB were from an individual river or site, which limited aggregating benefit across the system or generalizing to rivers across the country. Further, whether and how site and river characteristics affect the use of rivers for NMB activities are unknown. This study combined trip data collected from visitor surveys across the system with spatially explicit data on river characteristics in a travel cost model, and in the analysis step, characterized the economic benefit of NMB access and evaluated the effect of site and river characteristics. Net economic benefit of NMB access was estimated to be in the range of $56 to $73 per trip, depending on the modeling assumptions used. When aggregated across visits over the country, the total annual economic value of NMB access in National Forest System ranged from $92 million to $120 million. Results further suggest that site and river characteristics including water velocity, ramp availability, and rapid level were significantly related to NMB demand. Results may be useful in highlighting the use and public value of NMB access in rivers and in understanding the importance of site and river characteristics.

  • Citation: Chapagain, Binod P; Poudyal, Neelam C; Bowker, J M; Askew, Ashley E; English, Donald B K; Hodges, Donald G. 2021. Demand for and Economic Value of Nonmotorized Boating Access in Rivers at US National Forests. Journal of Forestry. 119(3): 275-290.
  • Keywords: nonmotorized boating, economic valuation, travel cost, national forests, site and river characteristics
  • Posted Date: August 25, 2022
  • Modified Date: August 31, 2022
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