Valuing the Loss of Rock Climbing Access in Wilderness Areas: A National-Level, Random-Utility Model

Therese C. Grijalva, Robert P. Berrens, Alok K. Bohara, Paul M. Jakus and W. Douglass Shaw


Given potential growth in outdoor rock climbing and its concentration on public lands, the management of climbing access in wilderness areas is an issue of considerable national controversy in the United States. A proposed rule change by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) would prohibit the use of fixed climbing protection in wilderness areas—effectively eliminating safe access to many sites. Using a unique data set on rock climbing trips, a repeated-nested logit, random-utility model is used to analyze economic losses to climbers resulting from the USFS proposal. Results indicate that the USFS proposal may constitute a major regulatory change. (JEL Q26)

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