KWRRI Research Reports


Recreation visitation and cost data at three reservoirs in the Ohio River Valley (Rough River, Dewey, and Winton Woods) were analyzed in an attempt to derive a method by which the optimum level of reservoir recreation development could be determined by marginal economic analysis.

The visitation data were used to determine factors expressing the time distribution of facility use, capacity coefficients, and realized benefits. The cost data were used to estimate annual cost, and marginal cost as functions of annual visitation. Marginal cost and marginal benefit data were combined to find the optimum size.

Potential visitation to Winton Woods was estimated, and the marginal benefit per visitor was estimated from travel costs. The potential visitation was combined with the distribution factors for Rough River and Dewey to get the time distribution of reservoir use. Actual visitation was combined with the distribution factors at Winton Woods to get the time distribution of use at actual conditions. These two relationships allowed the reduction in potential benefits due to crowding to be estimated.

The marginal cost curves are combined with the marginal benefit curves to find the optimum visitation to a site. This optimum visitation implies a required reservoir size which can be estimated by use of the distribution factors and capacity coefficients. The required cost for these facilities and the realized benefits can also be estimated.

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"Application of Marginal Economic Analysis to Reservoir Recreation Planning" is based on research performed as part of a project entitled "The Economic Impact of Flood Control Reservoirs" (OWRR Project No. A-006-KY) sponsored by the University of Kentucky Water Resources Institute and supported in part by funds provided by the United States Department of Interior as authorized under the Water Resources Research Act of 1964, Public Law 88-379.