Rider preferences and economic values for equestrian trails

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Recreational horseback riding is an important, but less studied, component of human interaction with the natural environment and often occurs alongside other outdoor recreational activities. Using choice experiment data collected from a survey conducted in Kentucky, this study assesses rider preferences and economic values associated with various equestrian trail attributes for daylong horseback riding trips in rural trail systems. Results indicate that while individuals have different opinions, trail attributes such as length of trail, scenic views, and travel distance from home all have significant economic implications. In addition, riders prefer trails that are restricted for horse riding only. Willingness to pay estimates of all attributes increase substantially when the travel cost to reach the trail is also considered. Policy implications on maintaining current and creating new trails in a multi-user setting are given, such as the opportunities for separating horseback riders from other users while still providing other beneficial attributes like options for longer trails and scenic views to all groups.

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Journal of Environmental Planning and Management

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