Willingness to travel to avoid conflicts in Danish forests

Conflicts among forest visitors have direct effects on the quality of a recreational experience. As the number of visitors to forests close to residential areas increases, as well as the number of different activities, so does the potential for perceived conflicts. According to the literature, expanding knowledge of conflict characteristics and their causes is important for recreation planners and managers who aim to reduce conflicts. In the present study, different forest user groups were identified and categorised according to their pursued activities, and for each group, causes of conflict were identified. Furthermore, a choice experiment was constructed to estimate the distance visitors are willing to travel to encounter few visitors as opposed to many visitors, and thereby potentially experience fewer conflicts. Comparing the marginal willingness to travel (WTT) of different user groups suggests that some groups have a WTT further than the average to reach a forest with ‘Few’ visitors. The average WTT to reach a forest area with ‘Few’ visitors. ‘Mountain bikers,’ ‘Peace and nature lovers’ and ‘Horse riders’ are willing to travel 4 km more than the average per visit to reach a less crowded forest. At the other end of the scale, we find that people who are doing physical exercise are willing to travel 2 km less than the average to reach a less crowded forest.