An Estimated Economic Value for the Aubudon Sabal Palm Sanctuary

Gary McBryde

Abstract


The Aubudon Sabal Palm Sanctuary near Brownsville, Texas, is recognized by bird watchers as a site to observe a large number of uncommon birds. The uniqueness of the birds and vegetation, mild winters, and easy access to an international airport and modern resort facilities attract bird watchers from all over the world. A technique to value recreation sites is the aggregate travel cost method. The method estimates economic value based on what visitors pay to travel to the site. Preliminary data on the total number of visitors, their origins, and party size were obtained from a guest book registry at the sanctuary for 1990. Additional visitor characteristics were collected from a questionnaire administered to visitors in 1991. Results show visitors spend an average of $443.10 to travel to the sanctuary. On the basis of total visitors, the sanctuary generates $1.28 million per year. These results were compared to other recreational activities to contrast the value generated by bird watching. The estimated value and the number of visitors at other bird-watching sites in the region (such as Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge) suggest the need for additional studies to document more completely the value of non-game wildlife in the region.

Keywords


bird watching; travel cost method

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