Results from the Missouri River Public Use Assessment

A total of 2,494,740 individual-visits or -days were made to the Missouri River and its tributaries during the 13-month study. This minimum estimate includes use from public accesses and areas, private lands not generally accessible by the
general public, fishing tournaments, and excursion boats. If estimates of individual-visits to 32 Lewis and Clark events (Sheriff et al. 2008) are included, then an estimated 2,701,830 individual-visits or -days were made to the river.

2,042,980 individual-visits in 1,139,640 party-visits (1.79 individuals/exiting party) came to public accesses and areas.

The average individual-visitor spent 3.2 hours per individual-visit to public accesses and areas. In total, individual-visits accounted for an estimated 6,520,330 individual-hours of public use at public accesses and areas.

River users at public accesses and areas reported being involved in 71 different activities, including

  • Sightseeing - 29.23% of estimated total individual-visits
  • Fishing - 23.79% of estimated total individual-visits
  • Boating - 11.90% of estimated total individual-visits.

Most of the public accesses and areas users’ time on or along the river was spent in camping (33.38%), fishing (21.96%), and boating (13.09%).

The estimates of total economic benefit of the river to public access and area users were between $20.1 million (using the travel cost method) and $38.7 million (using the discrete choice method).

Residence” users (those users of the Missouri River or its tributaries who gained access through private land not generally accessible to the public) spent 204,520 individual-days or 73,040 party-days using the river. In total they spent 2,573,560 individual-hours engaged in 53 different activities. Over one-half of this time was spent in “cottage use” (1.7 million individual-hours).

Other significant public use of the river included users with access from two clubs (St. Joseph Yacht Club and the 4F Flathead Club with 12,830 individual-days of use), fishing tournaments (753 participants and 604 non-participants reported), and three excursion boats (47,303 passengers reported).