Outdoor recreation activities play a significant economic and social role in the United States. In addition to contributing to total personal consumption and the Gross Domestic Product, outdoor activities support a healthy US lifestyle. The extent of research valuing the effects of environmental changes on outdoor activities reflects these important contributions. A wealth of economics literature exists on valuing the effects of environmental impacts on recreational activities and on developing methods to measure the values of nonmarket goods. Although very little research has been carried out to quantify the potential impacts of climate change on recreation, the effects of climate change on the quality and quantity of natural resources used for outdoor recreation could, in fact, adversely affect the recreation market. Given its limited coverage in past climate literature, we have taken two approaches to studying the effects of climate change on a variety of outdoor recreational activities.
Chapter 10 presents a study by Robert Mendelsohn and Marla Markowski which estimates the direct effects of climate on the demand for seven outdoor recreation activities. Mendelsohn and Markowski consider recreation activities for which climate impacts could be measured on a state-by-state basis. Using a travel cost approach to measure changes in values of all sites within each state, Mendelsohn and Markowski estimate the demand for visits to all sites and explore two econometric models to develop a range of estimates for each recreation category.