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Estimation of Demand for Equestrian Trail Recreational Activities in Kentucky
A. Pagoulatos, W. Hu, J. Stowe
Department of Agricultural Economics
Given the importance of the equine industry for the Kentucky economy and the usage of trails by regular Kentucky or nearby state residents, it is imperative to ensure this resource is managed properly to support sustainable long-term development. This project will serve a unique role of providing an inventory of current equine trail conditions based on ecological, geographic, economics and socio-demographic information of the stakeholders.
A subsequent role of this research is to assess actual demand for these trails from an economic perspective. This type of demand is closely related to the benefit these trails provide to the society. Thus, this study helps understanding social benefit of horse-riding trails so that the information can be used for comprehensive assessment of benefit versus cost of these trails to the state, which contributes to the overall consideration of the equine industry and economic welfare of the residents.
This study will contribute to the effort already underway at the University of Kentucky, which examines the determinants of recreation demand for equestrian trails in Kentucky. We plan to determine consumer surplus values for trails in Kentucky as well as recommend either improvements in present equine trails and or location and characteristics of possible new trails. We also intend to derive spending patterns for equestrians that can be combined with secondary information to determine economic impacts.
2010 Project Description
A survey was distributed to trail riders in Kentucky. The survey was given in two venues online and mail in allowing people without internet access to be involved in the study. Survey responses were obtained in two ways mail in and online. The majority of surveys, 252 out of 275 (92%) were completed via the internet. These online surveys were made available through the web service Survey Monkey and were distributed with the help of the Kentucky Horse Council who used its membership list serve to send the link address to trail riders and ask them to take a few minutes to complete the survey.
Of the 80 surveys mailed out, 23 (29%) were returned. The survey was designed with four main sections demographics, personal habits, ranking of equestrian trail characteristics, and the discrete choice sets. The demographic section consists of the usual questions aimed at gaining information on the characteristics of the individual age, education, gender, income, employment, marriage, and number of children. Personal habits included questions dealing with topics such as frequency and timing day/overnight trips, group travel number of people traveling, ownership of horses, location of horses board, own property, and participation in trail construction. The ranking of characteristics sections included: the length of the trail, the distance between the respondent's home and the trail, the limitations on use of the trail (horse riding only), the presence of scenic views, the presence of open land, the presence of bathroom and/or shower facilities at the trail head, and the amount of the entrance fee.
Presentation of Progress Report to the Kentucky Horse Council. Pagoulatos, A. W. Hu and M. Pelton. Equestrian Trail Demand in Kentucky. Horse Council Trail Summit, Blue Licks State Park.
Survey data are being analyzed at this time.