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WWRC 86-05j
Uses and Needs of Riparian Zones for Recreation


Outdoor recreation is important to Wyoming for a number of reasons. From a business perspective, it attracts outside dollars to the state in the form of expenditures by recreational visitors. These dollars in turn generate jobs for Wyoming residents. From a public perspective, outdoor recreation is an important factor in the quality of life for many stale residents. Riparian zones are an integral part of outdoor recreation from either perspective. In some cases, such as stream fishing, it is an essential input in the production of the recreational activity. In other cases, such as camping, it is an amenity that contributes, but is not essential, to the recreational activity.

The management of riparian zones often involves trade-offs between competing uses of the resource. In the absence of recreational considerations, the trade-off was typically between market commodities with known economic values. As recreational considerations have entered management decisions, the trade-off is often between market commodities with known economic values and recreation, & nonmaiket good whose economic value is not directly observable. This means that alternative measurement methods need to be used to estimate the economic value of recreational use. Several alternative measurement methods have been developed to estimate the value of outdoor recreation activities.

In recent years, recreation's demand for natural resources, including riparian zones, has increased dramatically. On the supply side there is wily a finite quantity of riparian zones in the state. Thus there will likely be continuing competition between recreation and other uses of riparian zones. Information on the value of recreation would be useful in determining the efficient allocation of the resource among these uses.

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