Page images


through discussion and research.

Additionally, managers of specific

recreation areas must weigh the preservation of leisure experiences

against funding realities, private competition, local value systems,

regional economic conditions, agency policies, quality of the opportunities provided, and the logistics of fee collection.

As a

guide to such site-specific work, however, four general policy

guidelines are offered that reflect an ethical commitment to the

preservation of leisure opportunities and are sufficiently general

to apply to a variety of areas.

First, as has long been recommended in community recreation

(e.g. Rodney 1964), the impression of unsympathetic external control

should be minimized.

Fees should be set by policy and not by

opportunity; services should be based upon need and not upon


Once a decision has been made to levy a charge on

direct users, the most unobtrusive method available should be

chosen. Thus, recreation permits like fishing licenses, or excise taxes on critical equipment would be preferable to on-site entrance


User fees should be explicitly targeted for the maintenance

and expansion of outdoor recreation opportunities, and visitors

should be informed of the enhanced opportunities through

interpretive media.

Second, fee structures should reflect the degree to which an

experience is based on unconfined.freedom and personal choice.


Selway River in Idaho, for example, offers a four to ten day

challenging w110 river trip, entirely through classified wilderness,

with drinkable river water and unregulated camping.

One party per

day (most of which are private parties) is permitted to launch so

that opportunities for sol1tude and unconfined recreation may be



If we are to encourage the experience of personal

freedom, a fee for this experience would be inappropriate.

The New

River Gorge National River in West Virginia also offers a highly

challenging river trip.

However, 92 percent of the 82,000 people

who float this river each year participate in commercially outfitted

trips with a guide in each raft.

Decisions about equipment, food,

transportation, scheduling and safety are all made for the


Almost all trips are day trips.

A head tax for the New

River experience seems more justifiable than for the Selway.

Third, recreation experiences clearly based on education or

contemplation should be free.

These are as much a merit good as

education in the public schools.

Most forms of outdoor programming

(interpretation, environmental or outdoor education) would fall into

[blocks in formation]

institutions and commercial outfitters in a 1984 revision of their

outfitting and guiding permit policy (Federal Register 1984).


benefits provided, especially to disadvantaged clients, specifically exempt a non-profit organization from paying for a commercial


A similar rationale should apply in the selective

application of other user fees.

Finally, user fees might be structured to support leisure

subcultures, rather than impeding their development.

If explicitly

Towered fees are attached to specific experiences (e.g. season passes for hang giiding in a national forest), then the fee itself


may communicate support for serious individual commitment to the

activity. This effect could, of course, be enhanced through other symbols of group membership 11ke cards or patches, opportunities for

participants to volunteer their efforts in management of the activity, or through specially targeted interpretive activities. In addition, reduced fees for repeat visitors may communicate support

for long-term involvement.

The generalizations we offer here suggest that user fees can

be compatible with an emerging ethical imperative for the park and

recreation profession.

They will only be compatible, however, if

they reflect a well-formed philosophy guiding the total management

[blocks in formation]

examine some of the historical and philosophical issues involved in

pay-as-you-go recreation, and to suggest an ethical framework from

which to proceed. As we said in the beginning, fees seem justifiable, expeditious, and inevitable. Our hope is that they may

be applied judiciously by conscientious professionals, and not as a quick fix for å sagging recreation resource system.



Berrier, D. 1. 1984.

Minnesota's new cross-country skiing program.

Paper presented at Conference on Fees for Outdoor Recreation on

[blocks in formation]

symposium, School of Forestry and W11011fe Resources, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

April 19, 1984.

Cordell, H. K., and Hendee, J. C. 1982.

Renewable Resources

Recreation in the United States: Supplye Demande and Critical

[blocks in formation]

doma in?

journal ef Environmental Education 8(2):21-29.

[blocks in formation]

of Reward: New Perspectives on the Psychology of Human

[blocks in formation]


Driver, B. L. 1984.

Public responses to user fees.

Paper presented

at Conference on Fees for Outdoor Recreation on Lands Open to

the Public.

Durham, NH, January 1, 2, and 3.

Dustin, D. Loe McAvoy, b. H. and Schultz, J. H.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Gibson, P. J. 1979. Therapeutic aspects of wilderness programs.

Therapeutic Recreation Journal 13(3):21-33.

Kelly, J. R. 1982.

Leisure. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall,

[blocks in formation]

McDonald, C. D., Hammitt, W. E. and Dottavio, F. D. 1985.


individual's willingness to pay for a river visit. Paper
Presented at the National River Recreation Symposium. Baton

Rouge, LA, Louisiana State University, October 30-Nov 3, 1984.

Musgrave, R. A. 1959.

The Theory of Public Finance: A Study in

Public Economy.

New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

« PreviousContinue »