The recent developments of nonmarket valuation have focused on identifying preference heterogeneity and examining the impact it has on consumer’s willingness to pay. The objective of this study is to examine the extent to which heterogeneous environmental attitudes influence demand for freshwater recreational activities as well as the valuation of freshwater recreational benefits. We focus on the St. Johns River, the longest river in Florida, and use a telephone survey of Florida’s residents to elicit information in regards to household outdoor recreational experiences on the river. Information regarding respondent attitudes and perceptions towards Florida’s water resources and natural resource policies was gathered in the survey as well. We employed a latent class analysis to reveal two distinct classes of respondents based on their responses to questions regarding their environmental attitudes and perceptions. We then estimated a recreational demand model with respect to travel costs associated with getting to the river, household income, perceived water quality of the river, and respondents’ environmental attitudes within each latent class. We found that class 1’s individual recreational benefits are twice as large as class 2’s. We contribute to the literature by emphasizing that environmental attitudes directly influence consumer recreational demand and valuation of the river, and should be taken into consideration for water resource management policies.


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