Valuing Off-Road Vehicle Access

Faculty Lead(s): Christopher Bastian


Description: Dr. Christopher Bastian is recruiting an MS student to join the Dept of Agricultural & Applied Economics at the University of Wyoming. This student will work on a project originally funded by the Wyoming State Trails program. Current trends indicate increasing Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) use in the future.

Growing ecological concerns and potential conflicts with other trail users, points toward the potential for increased concerns and regulation of ORV recreation in Wyoming and other states with public lands. Yet relatively few studies are available regarding the economic benefits associated with ORV use.

The student on this project will use travel cost data, ORV-user socio-demographic data from a survey conducted in 2021 of ORV users registered in Wyoming, and recreational site-attribute data to build and estimate a Random Utility Model (RUM).

The student will then calculate compensating variation estimates of welfare losses from closing all of Wyoming trails and roads to ORV use, closing just U. S. Forest Service (USFS) dominated areas to ORVs, and closing just non-USFS land to ORVs. The distinction between USFS areas versus non-USFS lands is important, as the majority of maintained ORV trails lie on USFS land in Wyoming.

Given the relative paucity of research regarding ORV recreation this research is expected to generate information that may be useful to policy makers, public lands managers, personnel with the Wyoming State Trails program, and other economists faced with similar controversies in their states.

Ideal candidates for this position will possess strong quantitative skills, outstanding written and oral communication skills. Candidates should show creative and flexible thinking, be self-motivated and able to work independently with guidance and support from project collaborators.

wyoming public lands to study by a graduate assistant in the agricultural and applied economics masters program at UW

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