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Abstract

The value of agricultural landscapes to tourists and local residents is not captured in the marketplace. Landowners provide stewardship over these valuable landscape attributes, but do not receive any ‘uncaptured’ value. Through real estate markets, it is easy to reveal the value of converting landscapes, but less easy to understand the value of not converting them. Redistributive policies have the potential to provide incentives to landowners to act on behalf of these other stakeholders by lowering the opportunity cost of (raising the returns to) open lands stewardship. This article will examine this issue for a rural county in Colorado. Tourist and resident demographics and travel behavior will be identified. The value of ranch open space that currently is not reflected in the market will be estimated and further discussed in terms of its implications for the local economy. Policy implications for the local decision makers to capture this currently ‘uncaptured’ value of ranch open space will be briefly explored.

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