Date of Graduation
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Agricultural and Resource Economics
Heather Stephens, Ph.D
Public lands provide opportunities for recreation and an escape from urban life. Coopers Rock State Forest in West Virginia features scenic views, hiking and biking trails, and other opportunities to get out and enjoy nature. However, despite increases in visitation, Coopers Rock operates under a deficit and faces backlogs of maintenance. Thus, this research attempts to estimate a value of Coopers Rock to visitors using the travel cost method and evaluates several fee-based policies through which Coopers Rock could capitalize on this visitation. Our results suggest that there are a range of values to visitors of visiting Coopers Rock State Forest up to about $23.60 per visit. However, more research is needed to get a more accurate cost, as this method did not account for variation in gas prices, where visitors came from and the travel time, or other factors that could impact visitors’ willingness to pay.
Moore, Sullivan Wilcox, "Coopers Rock State Forest: How to Address Operations Cost and Shortfalls" (2020). Capstones and Honors Theses. 15.