National Survey Shows Americans Value Grand Canyon Springs

Published: Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 7:49am

(Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park)
Ribbon Falls in the Grand Canyon.

Researchers say Americans are willing to pay more on their taxes to restore springs in Grand Canyon National Park — even when they’ve never visited the famous landmark.

Scientists at Northern Arizona University conducted a survey of 300 Americans. On average respondents were willing to pay about $30 extra for springs with ecological, aesthetic and cultural significance.

Lead author Julie Mueller said this shows spring restoration has benefits not typically recognized in economic terms.

“We had a lot of people in our sample who have never visited a desert spring, and who may never visit a desert spring, who were still willing to pay to make sure the spring was protected,” she said.

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Mueller said respondents placed the most value on springs that serve as habitat for rare species. Next in line were springs that provide water for backpackers or are significant to indigenous nations. Mueller said results can help policymakers prioritize springs for restoration.

The paper appears in the journal Land Use Policy.

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