ECON 2400-13 – Economics of the Environment: Banning Snowmobiles

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Short Essay Assignment No. 2: Banning Snowmobiles
The National Wildlife and Park Service are debating whether or not to ban snowmobiles in the famous Jellystone National Park. The Society for Non-motorized Outdoor Wilderness (SNOW) has led the campaign for a ban, citing the damages to Yogi Bear and his friends (i.e. the Park’s wildlife) and their habitat as well as loss of enjoyment to non-motorized winter re-creationists in the Park (cross-country skiers and snowshoeing hikers). As snowmobile users do not pay for access to the Park, they are not contributing to any Park restoration efforts. The campaign against the ban is led by the Snow Mobile Owners Group (SMOG), which claims to represent all current snowmobile users of Jellystone Park. SMOG argues that its constituents have just as much right to enjoy Jellystone Park as any other re-creationists, and that the welfare of snowmobile users will suffer greatly from the ban as there is no comparable Park in the region for them to use.
The Park Service has decided to commission you to assist them in deciding whether or not to enforce the ban on snowmobiles at Jellystone Park. Specifically, they ask you to address the following questions.
1. What methods of valuation would you recommend for assessing the damages from snowmobiles claimed by SNOW:
a. loss of wildlife and habitat, and
b. loss of enjoyment by cross-country skiers and snowshoeing hikers?
2. What methods of valuation would you recommend for assessing the loss of welfare to snowmobile users, if the ban were enforced?
3. Based on these valuations, how would you determine whether or not the snowmobile ban should be implemented?
4. In addition, to these valuations what other economic factors might be considered in the decision as to whether or not to implement the ban?
5. If the Park Service decides not to implement the ban, should snowmobile users have free access to Jellystone Park? Why or why not?
Please write a short essay addressing these five questions. The essay should be a minimum of 750 words and a maximum of 1,250 words (i.e. 3-5 pages), and it must be handed in by the assigned due date. An essay handed in after this assigned due date will lose automatically ten points for each day late. If the essay is more than three days late, it will not be graded and receive zero points. This policy is not negotiable.

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