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Who visits a national park and what do they get out of it?: a joint visitor cluster analysis and travel cost model for Yellowstone National Park


Who visits a national park and what do they get out of it?: a joint visitor cluster analysis and travel cost model for Yellowstone National Park



Environmental Management 52(4): 917-928



ISSN/ISBN: 0364-152X

PMID: 23974903

DOI: 10.1007/s00267-013-0143-4

Yellowstone National Park visitor data were obtained from a survey collected for the National Park Service by the Park Studies Unit at the University of Idaho. Travel cost models have been conducted for national parks in the United States; however, this study builds on these studies and investigates how benefits vary by types of visitors who participate in different activities while at the park. Visitor clusters were developed based on activities in which a visitor participated while at the park. The clusters were analyzed and then incorporated into a travel cost model to determine the economic value (consumer surplus) that the different visitor groups received from visiting the park. The model was estimated using a zero-truncated negative binomial regression corrected for endogenous stratification. The travel cost price variable was estimated using both 1/3 and 1/4 the wage rate to test for sensitivity to opportunity cost specification. The average benefit across all visitor cluster groups was estimated at between $235 and $276 per person per trip. However, per trip benefits varied substantially across clusters; from $90 to $103 for the "value picnickers," to $185-$263 for the "backcountry enthusiasts," $189-$278 for the "do it all adventurists," $204-$303 for the "windshield tourists," and $323-$714 for the "creature comfort" cluster group.

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Accession: 056940289

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