Costs of Endangered Species Protection on Public Lands: Evidence from Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Working Paper


Management of public lands often involves competing uses and difficult tradeoffs. Here we examine the implications of a direct federal land use conflict in Cape Hatteras National Seashore: off-road vehicle (ORV) access and endangered species protection. Results from a repeated discrete choice model of recreational angler behavior suggest that the economic costs of access restrictions are relatively modest, ranging from $403,000 to $2.07 million annually. Our results provide general support for the National Park Service’s recently implemented ORV management plan, as the upper bound of recreation losses is less than a conservative estimate of the benefits of protecting coastal biodiversity.

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