Preferences for Public Lands Management under Competing Uses: The Case of Yellowstone National Park

Carol Mansfield, Daniel J. Phaneuf, F. Reed Johnson, Jui-Chen Yang and Robert Beach


We examine snowmobile use conflict in Yellowstone National Park to assess the effect of different winter management policies on heterogeneous visitors’ welfare. Using a stated preference choice experiment we quantify welfare changes for snowmobile riders and non-riders under different snowmobile restrictions. A key determinant of welfare change is visitors’ willingness to trade-off reduced snowmobile access for improved ambient conditions in the park. Our findings support the notion that welfare losses to snowmobile riders could be offset by welfare gains to non-riders, but net benefits will depend on the number of riders and non-riders and the specifics of the policy. (JEL Q26, Q51)