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Managers of the Public forest recreation areas face a daunting challenge to provide a high quality recreation experience, while maintaining sustained forest and related resource management, and simultaneously, steadily increasing visitor numbers, with resultant environmental damage. It is the hypothesis of this study, that visitors are willing to pay to use the Quinam forest recreation visitor shelter - a Trinidad and Tobago government forestry facility, equipped with most visitor services (cooking, wash, play areas) and which is currently provided free of charge on approval of the requisite application. A telephone survey was used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data during the period of April 24th – May 6th 2011 and a logistic regression model examined the socioeconomic factors explaining support for fees. This paper – a pre test for a larger MPhil study, assesses factors influencing visitors’ willingness to pay for the reservation of the shelter. Data collected indicated that participants are willing to pay (WTP) a price as high as $200 to use the facility. A total of 76% indicated willingness to pay to use the shelter while 23.9% were not willing to pay. Findings also showed that motivation and gender were key variables. However, many cells with no data and an overall unsatisfactory response for income data suggest the need for closer scrutiny of the questionnaire formulation and survey process. Nevertheless, even with the limitations of the data collected, these results potentially indicate that a fee could be implemented without losing visitors. This study will provide the basis and impetus for more research leading to the introduction of a user fee at this site and others in Trinidad and Tobago.


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