Environmental Management

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 699–711 | Cite as

Ecological Settings and State Economies as Factor Inputs in the Provision of Outdoor Recreation

  • Christos Siderelis
  • Jordan W. SmithEmail author


State parks play a substantial role in the provision of outdoor recreation opportunities within the United States. Park operators must make crucial decisions in how they allocate capital expenditures, labor, and parkland to maintain recreation opportunities. Their decisions are influenced, in part, by the ecological characteristics of their state’s park system as well as the vitality of their state’s economy. In this research, we incorporate the characteristics of states’ ecosystems and their local economies into a formal production analysis of the states’ park systems from the years 1986 to 2011. Our analysis revealed all three factors of production were positive and inelastic. Expenditures on labor had the largest effect on both park utilization and operational expenditures. Our analysis also found a large degree of variability in the effects of ecological characteristics on both utilization and operating expenditures. Parkland utilization and operational expenditures were more elastic in areas such as Oceania and Mediterranean California relative to other ecological regions. These findings lead us to conclude that state park operators will experience variable levels of difficulty in both accommodating increasing demands for recreation from state parks and maintaining the existing quality of outdoor recreation provided within their system.


Production analysis State parks Ecological regions Factor inputs 



The National Association of State Park Directors supported this research. We thank Dr. Yu-Fai Leung and his staff for supplying the Annual Information Exchange (AIX) database and suggesting the possible exogenous influences of ecological regions on attendance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of the Environment, University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Digital Imagery Visualization Laboratory and Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism ManagementNC State UniversityRaleighUSA

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