The Value of Forever Wild: An Economic Analysis of Land Use in the Adirondacks

32 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2012

See all articles by Carrie Tuttle

Carrie Tuttle

Clarkson University

Martin D. Heintzelman

Clarkson University School of Business

Date Written: July 17, 2012


The Adirondacks are one of our nation’s most interesting experiments in conservation. Comprised of approximately 6.1 million acres, the Adirondacks are located in Northern New York in an area that is made up of great forest tracts with thousands of miles of lakefront, rivers, streams, brooks, and 42 peaks that are over 4,000 feet above sea level. In this article we develop an econometric model using sales transactions between 2001 and 2009 in the twelve counties that comprise the Adirondack Park to investigate how land use classifications, and the corresponding development restrictions, affect private property values. Simultaneously, we explore how the ecological amenities provided by the land use regulations also are capitalized into property values. The issues raised in this article touch on elements that are central to the ongoing debate over land use restrictions in the Adirondacks. Increased development within the Park would inarguably change the Adirondacks. As these debates continue, stakeholders on both sides are looking for answers about how land use restrictions have affected the Park both economically and environmentally. This article provides evidence that land use restrictions as well as the amenities provided by wild land do impact private property values. Furthermore, we find that proximity to small population centers, recreational opportunities, and impacts from human activities also play a role in prices.

Suggested Citation

Tuttle, Carrie and Heintzelman, Martin D., The Value of Forever Wild: An Economic Analysis of Land Use in the Adirondacks (July 17, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Carrie Tuttle

Clarkson University ( email )

United States

Martin D. Heintzelman (Contact Author)

Clarkson University School of Business ( email )

Potsdam, NY 13699-5780
United States

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