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«Recreation Plan Recreation Grants Branch State Parks Division 4200 Smith School Road • Austin, Texas 78744 © 2012 TPWD. PWD ...»

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and small, municipal parks are significant generators of economic Economic value is the worth of parks that cannot be activity.” (The Perryman measured by direct economic impact. This focuses on the Group, 2006). intangibles provided by parks; quality of life, physical and mental benefits of the outdoors, increased air quality, watershed protection, increased property values, wildlife conservation, and development buffers. Economists attempt to demonstrate some of this value by utilizing the option, existence, and bequest valuation methods in order to attach economic worth to the existence of outdoor recreation and conservation lands.

ECONOMIC VALUE

The total economic value of park lands to society is not a concept easily understood. A neighborhood park is an example. Neighborhood parks generally do not have an entrance or user fees, and if within walking distance, cost little to use. Therefore, no direct economic impact is generated by the user. Yet these parks have a value to society by both the user and non-user. These are identified as off-site values.

There are three primary ways to measure off-site values, the option value, existence value, and bequest value. Option value refers to the public’s willingness to pay to keep the future “option” of using the park, and keeping the land as a park rather than some other public or “An analysis of approximately private use. The existence value is the benefit 30 studies found a positive impact of 20% on property generated from the fact that parks and recreation values abutting or fronting a opportunities “exist” for the user and non-user.

passive park area.” Bequest value is the economic worth of providing or (The Perryman Group, 2006). maintaining park resources for future generations.

These three valuation methods take into consideration the economic worth of public outdoor recreation opportunities through a Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 6 – The Economic Values and Impacts variety of measurements. While these valuation methods offer great insight into how much the public values the existence and protection of parkland, these methods can be expensive to generate, and thus were not used in this analysis.

However, intrinsic values and direct outcomes provided by parks and recreation experiences cannot be overlooked. The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) offers a “Local parks also improve the number of studies that attempt to quantify the value quality of life of residents and of parks and recreation from a variety of alternative enhance economic development prospects, particularly for perspectives. The 2010 Research Series generated knowledge-based industries.” by NRPA show an ever broadening view of the (The Perryman Group, 2006) community benefits associated with parks and recreation. In place of generating numbers through the option, existence, and bequest valuation methods, the following studies demonstrate the broad-based economic value of outdoor recreation opportunities for the public and the environment. Chapter 7 on Physical, Mental, and Social Well-being goes further in-depth on the indirect economic value of parks and recreation.

• The Rationale for Recreation Services for Youth: An Evidenced Based Approach (Witt, Peter A. and Linda L. Caldwell)

• Air Quality Effects of Urban Trees and Park (Nowak, David J. and Gordon M.

Heisler)

• Parks and Other Green Environments: Essential Components of a Healthy Human Habitat (Kuo, Frances E. (Ming)

• The Benefits of Physical Activity Provided by Park and Recreation Services: The Scientific Evidence (Godbey, Geoffrey and Andrew Mowen).

There is also evidence of continued public support for the conservation of Texas’ water and lands. Hill Research Consultants conducted a survey of Texas voters regarding

conservation and parks in 2009. Findings included:

• 79% strongly support, Protect land over our aquifers and around rivers, lakes and streams to protect the quality of our drinking water.

• 71% strongly support, Conserve water usage to leave for future generations enough pristine flowing rivers to insure we have healthy bays, estuaries, waterfowl habitat, and coastal economies.

• 50% strongly support, Protect/preserve diversity of our natural areas (vistas, plains, streams, lakes, wildlife habitats, prairies, coastal wetlands) for enjoyment of present and future generations.

• 83% agreed, Unless we protect Texas’ natural areas, we will lose the very things that make Texas a special place in which to live.

• 79% agreed, If state leaders don’t purchase and protect some of Texas’ natural areas, today, they will be lost forever to development.

• 71% agreed, As the economy improves, we should use some of the extra revenue the state collects to purchase parkland and other natural areas while they are still available.

Chapter 6 – The Economic Values and Impacts Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan These results show that after improving public education; safeguarding, conserving, and protecting water make up the next three priorities. Protecting habitat for wildlife, increasing the number of neighborhood parks, and creating new state parks were important to respondents, but did not rank as important issues related to water conservation.

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The ripple effect can occur from state parks and municipal parks, though the impact is generally different based on whether it is state or local. This analysis will attempt to Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 6 – The Economic Values and Impacts identify the ripple effect from both state parks and local parks by highlighting major findings from previous in-depth analysis.

State Parks

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The first study of the economic impact of Texas State Parks was The 1987 Annual Economic Impact of State Park Visitors on Gross Business Receipts in Texas. This report set the stage for subsequent studies in 2003, 2005, and 2006 that continue to demonstrate the impact to the local host county and state economies by state parks.

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The report was commissioned by the Texas Coalition for Conservation, and written by John L. Crompton and Juddson C. Culpepper, Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University. Within the report non-resident visitors are those that made the state park their primary reason for the visit to the county, and did not live in the zip code(s) of the host county. It also excludes state park visitors that came to the park while in the area for some other purpose, these are considered casual visitors.

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The economic impact on sales indicates how the state park visitor expenditures recirculate within the local host county economy. However, the most significant indicator of economic impact can be seen in the contribution to the personal income of local residents by state park visitors. This measure illustrates how visitor spending directly affects the standard of living in the county.

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The overall impact on Texas resident’s personal income by the non-resident/non-casual state park visitors to the state is important. The figure below shows the categories of expenditures that account for the economic impact on incomes in Texas. In addition, 8,078.8 regional jobs were created in 2006 based on the existence of state parks.

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• Expenditures for parks operations and maintenance

• Capital outlays for improvements, acquisitions, and related activities

• Stimulus from tourism directly linked to local parks The following chart represents the findings by The Perryman Group regarding the economic impact generated within any given community by all activities related to the Chapter 6 – The Economic Values and Impacts Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan use of local public parkland. The results indicated take into account total expenditures by visitor spending, including retail sales, and personal income and are identified by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

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Total State $5,518,094,721 $2,722,548,923 $1,730,953,742 $818,364,007 38,390 Impact *Metropolitan Division, Source: U.S. Multi-Regional Impact Assessment System, The Perryman Group The Houston-Baytown-Sugarland MSA represents the largest economic gain from the ripple effect associated with local public parklands and outdoor recreation facilities. With approximately $1.6 billion generated through total expenditures, in addition to the creation of 10,338 jobs, the local park system in the Houston-Baytown-Sugarland MSA has had an incredible impact on the local economy.

Communities across the state have benefited enormously from the existence of local parklands and other outdoor recreation facilities. The Perryman Group determined that, on average, the typical net annual impact of all activities associated with local public Chapter 6 – The Economic Values and Impacts Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan parks on business activity across the entire state is $5.518 billion in total expenditures, in addition to the creation of 38,380 permanent jobs.

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Source: (The Perryman Group, 2006) In summary, the worth of parkland and outdoor recreation is closely intertwined with the intrinsic value to society and the economic impact generated by visitor spending.

Needless to say, our precious parklands, be it a community park or a state park, are a commodity that require careful planning, public input, and coordination with local organizations. Funding and community partnership are needed to identify and maintain the sites and facilities that create a balance for preservation, conservation, recreation, and economic value.

Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 6 – The Economic Values and Impacts

The Value of Parks and Recreation in Physical, Mental, and Social Well-Being There are a number of well-documented health benefits that can be directly attributed to parkland and other community green space. For a community, having green space is important for individuals, the environment, and the community as a whole.

The environmental health benefits are primarily attributed to the improved water and air quality that the trees, prairies, and grasslands can provide. Mental health benefits ascribed to outdoor spaces include an increase in self-discipline, self-esteem, and most importantly, increased resilience in dealing with stress. The physical health connections to nature are well-documented and consist of increased immune system functioning, reduced anxiety and stress, in addition to increased cognitive function. However, the most important advantage of outdoor spaces on physical health comes in the form of reducing obesity trends by encouraging and providing meaningful space for exercise and physical activity.

While the environmental, physical, and mental health benefits are clearly documented, the value that green space has for the health of the overall community is tremendous.

Parks and outdoor recreation facilities have a remarkable ability to foster positive social ties, a sense of belonging and neighborliness, in addition to crime prevention in the community at large. Reconnecting children with nature is a vital component of ensuring these positive benefits for future generations of nature stewards.

Environmental Benefits

In recent decades scholars from various disciplines have begun to design and implement studies to quantify and qualify the many environmental health benefits provided to a community by open space and parks. From protecting water resources to increasing air quality; parklands and green spaces can positively influence a community on several environmental levels.

Improved Water Quality

Water in Texas is sacred, especially in the more arid portions of the state and protecting the quality of this vital resource tops the list of environmental priorities. In recent decades, parklands (and the urban natural systems they support) have been proven to provide a natural, cost-effective form of water quality protection. An urban forest is comprised of any “high value trees in yards, parks, and along city streets (Texas Forest Service, 2012).” Roots from trees, shrubs and grasses perform a vital service by increasing infiltration of rainwater, reducing flood risk, soil and bank erosion, and by absorbing pollutants across the community.

Chapter 7 – The Value of Parks & Recreation in Well-Being Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan 2012 By building and maintaining parks, a community can strategically place parkland and other greenways around its city to significantly reduce stormwater management costs.

As Texas becomes a primarily urban society it will be particularly important to ensure that we do not make the mistake of paving our way into a water shortage (Funder's Network For Smart Growth and Livable Communities, 2011). Impervious surfaces, like concrete, disrupt the natural hydrological cycle by redirecting water through run-off, thus depriving aquifers the appropriate level of recharge. Furthermore, when pollution attributed to roadways and other impervious surfaces does not have a natural riparian buffer zone (such as a wetland), these pollutants are then deposited directly into rivers, streams, lakes, and other water bodies instead of being treated by the natural infiltration process that green spaces provide.

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