Theory, Methods and Public Policy
New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Edited by Gary Paul Green, Steven C. Deller and David D. Marcouiller
Chapter 10: Impact of Outdoor Recreation Facilities on Remote Rural Income Growth
J.C. Dissart and David W. Marcouiller INTRODUCTION Despite the population turnaround of the 1970s, considerable public policy eﬀort, and generally increasing demands for rural land, US rural areas still lag behind urban ones with respect to many socioeconomic indicators, including housing, transportation, educational attainment, health care and income. This statement, however, is not generally applicable to all rural areas. Rural America actually oﬀers a diverse, contrasted picture of regions both in economic decline and in generally improving economic conditions (Castle 1995; Drabenstott and Smith 1995; Lapping et al. 1989). The latter are typiﬁed as either located near major metropolitan areas, beneﬁting from agglomeration economies and economic spillover, or oﬀering outstanding natural, cultural or social amenities that attract people and ﬁrms. During the past 50 years, the rural economy has transitioned away from traditional natural resource extraction activities and its related processing to services (both personal and professional) and retail sectors. With rising per capita incomes, transportation improvements and environmental awareness, rural land is increasingly seen as a reservoir of natural resources for amenity use such as recreation and tourism, rather than for extractive use such as forestry, mining, agriculture or ﬁsheries. Recreation and tourism is currently a popular rural development strategy because of the apparent ease of tourism in creating jobs and income, its low requirement in labor training and infrastructure investments, and its seemingly nonconsumptive nature (Frederick 1993). The chief interest of rural tourism and recreation for rural areas, though, is that it capitalizes...
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