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Yue Cui, Wen-Huei Chang and Ed Mahoney
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Yue Cui: Michigan State University
Wen-Huei Chang: Institute for Water Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Ed Mahoney: Michigan State University

Articles, 2015, vol. 42, issue 2

Abstract: Recreational activities, such as boating, on inland waterways are becoming increasingly more popular at a time when public funding for developing and maintaining recreational facilities and services is generally being reduced. In the United States, federal budgetary funds are allocated based on performance outputs and national economic development benefits and clear priority is given to commercial harbours and navigation channels over recreational harbours. This has created significant difficulties particularly when it comes to dredging during this current period of extremely low water levels. Recreational boating advocates argue that boating is too economically important not to maintain and enhance these recreational harbours, and even more so because of the economic downturn in many regions. Considering these backgrounds, this study provides a review of different methods for estimating the economic impacts of water based recreation activities, including recreational boating, fishing and cruise ship, which are benefited from US Army Corps of Engineers’ navigation projects. This paper in further demonstrates the proposed methods by a simulation tool, RECONS (Regional Economic System), developed for US Army Corps of Engineers. This study includes a review of various methods (e.g., surveys) for estimating spending (e.g., annual craft, trip spending) required for use in economic impact assessment models. It will also discuss the importance of, and alternative ways to produce reliable estimates of boating use (e.g., boating trips), including several recent surveys designed and conducted by the authors. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of the recreational uses of Inland Waterways and develops economic impacts spending frameworks for different types of recreational activities. This was rarely done by previous studies.

Date: 2015
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