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The New Economics of Outdoor Recreation

Edited by Nick Hanley, W. Douglass Shaw and Robert E. Wright

This innovative book presents a series of up-to-date analyses of the economics of outdoor recreation. The distinguished group of authors covers real-world recreation management issues and applies economic understanding to these problems. An extensive introduction by the editors details the historical background of economists’ interests in this subject, and reveals how economics can provide practical insights into improving how we manage our natural recreation areas.
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Chapter 3: Using Economic Instruments to Manage Access to Rock-Climbing Sites in the Scottish Highlands

Nick Hanley, Begona Alvarez-Farizo and W. Douglass Shaw


Nick Hanley, Begona Alvarez-Farizo and W. Douglass Shaw 1. INTRODUCTION Many outdoor recreation areas are characterized by open access, in that users pay no direct fee to gain entry to the site. This is especially true in Northern Europe, where the cultural tradition of ‘free’ access to such areas is strong, whether they are publicly or privately owned. Access is of course costly and not free, since users must pay certain costs to access such sites, notably time and out-of-pocket travel costs. However, any moves to ration access to some European areas (such as National Parks in England and Wales) through direct entry fees are highly unlikely from a political perspective. At public parks and other lands in the US entry fees are a longstanding tradition, but recent suggestions by federal lands managers to impose new or additional fees are also causing protests from outdoor recreational users. It is becoming increasingly evident that in many parts of the UK, openaccess conditions, coupled with a rising demand for outdoor activities, are creating problems at outdoor recreation areas. These problems are twofold. First, higher visitor numbers may lead to overcrowding, and reduced utility per visit.1 Second, higher visitor numbers may place more pressure on the natural environment. This environmental externality is manifested in the disruption of wildlife sites (for instance, in relation to breeding waders such as Dotterel and Golden Plover), and increased erosion of footpaths. Erosion problems in the UK due to hill-walking have been extensively studied, for example in the...

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