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A DOUBLE HURDLE APPROACH TO EVALUATING NON-RESIDENTIAL WILDLIFE WATCHING IN THE UNITED STATES

By Assane Diagne, David R. Lavergne and Williams O. Olatubi

Abstract

In 1996, over 62 million U.S. residents participated in wildlife watching and spent in excess of 29 billion dollars in this recreational activity. Wildlife watching can be defined as the observation, study, and enjoyment of natural areas and its wild fauna and flora. Residential wildlife watching takes place within one mile of the participant's residence and is often an incidental or secondary activity. Non-residential wildlife watching refers to recreation taking place at a distance of at least one mile from the participant's residence. In recent years, a sharp decline in the number of wildlife watchers has been noted. Between 1991 and 1996, the number of wildlife watchers decreased by 17 percent. During this time interval, the largest decline in participation was observed in non-residential viewing. The number of non-residential wildlife watchers declined by 21 percent. This trend is damaging to towns and communities, especially rural communities which largely depend on recreation dollars. The mitigation or reversal of this trend hinges upon the identification of factors affecting participation and expenditures on wildlife viewing. The determining role of several socioeconomic attributes in explaining participation and expenditures on nature-related recreation has been widely studied in the leisure and recreation literature. However, most of these past studies have focused on fishing and hunting activities rather than the equally important non-residential wildlife watching. Hence, this study evaluates participation decisions and the extent of the participation in non-residential wildlife watching in the United States. Keywords: wildlife watching, limited dependent variables, double hurdlewildlife watching, limited dependent variables, double hurdle, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy,

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