Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Nicholas Flores

Abstract

National parks are faced with contradicting missions that make management of congestion issues difficult. The public believes national parks are a commons, meant for all to enjoy, and therefore stand firmly against any management strategies that have the ability to keep others from visiting. In order for national parks to effectively manage congestion they must have public approval. One solution would be to raise the entrance fee price, though this has already received negative public feedback. Another potential solution is the implementation of reservation systems to replace entrance fees during peak season. A choice experiment with three attributes and two levels per is used to measure a sample of Colorado residents’ preferences for congestion management at Rocky Mountain National Park. Results suggest the public has a desire to lower congestion, but is not willing to pay a price above $65 to achieve this. Instead, the public indicated they would be favorable to the implementation of a reservation system that limited access to the Park but achieved lowered congestion. Varying individual specific characteristics were further measured to determine particular group preferences. Indication of the publics’ preference to reduce congestion through a reservation system provides insight into a potential candidate to manage congestion at Rocky Mountain National Park.

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