Estimating the economic value of national parks with count data models using on-site, secondary data: the case of the great sand dunes national park and preserve

Environ Manage. 2009 Apr;43(4):619-27. doi: 10.1007/s00267-008-9149-8. Epub 2008 May 28.


We estimate an individual travel cost model for Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (GSD) in Colorado using on-site, secondary data. The purpose of the on-site survey was to help the National Park Service better understand the visitors of GSD; it was not intended for a travel cost model. Variables such as travel cost and income were estimated based on respondents' Zip Codes. Following approaches found in the literature, a negative binomial model corrected for truncation and endogenous stratification fit the data the best. We estimate a recreational benefit of U.S. $89/visitor/year or U.S. $54/visitor/24-h recreational day (in 2002 U.S. $). Based on the approach presented here, there are other data sets for national parks, preserves, and battlefields where travel cost models could be estimated and used to support National Park Service management decisions.

MeSH terms

  • Colorado
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / economics*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Recreation / economics*
  • United States