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State Recreation Areas (SRAs) fulfil a special role in the New South Wales system of parks and reserves, by providing facilities for outdoor recreation in large regional parks in a natural setting. Arakoon SRA is a 114 ha promontory with 5 kms of sea frontage on the Mid North Coast, equidistant from Sydney and Brisbane. Some 170 000 camping and day visitor groups enter the SRA per annum. The SRA Trustees commissioned the author to canvass user needs and attitudes to assist planning long term management. Surveys undertaken resulted in interviewers obtaining information from 11% of the annual number of overnight visitors, and additionally 6% of households in the adjacent Kempsey Shire, which was expected to be the main source of day visitors to the SRA. Further interview information enabled assessment by contingent valuation methodology of how visitors value their recreational visits to the area. This paper reports the results of that assessment. The net recreational value of the SRA was $552 000 per annun of which approximately 80% accrued to residents in the Kempsey Shire area. Conclusions are drawn on the use of CV methodology to value recreation areas, and highlights some factors to consider when undertaking nonmarket valuations of natural areas.


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