The article presents the results of the survey using the Contingent Valuation Method. The aim of the research was to estimate the value of selected lake ecosystems of Central Pomerania by determining the willingness to pay for recreational use of the beach with the swimming area by people aged from 18 to 21 years. The research shows that 90% of the surveyed group declares their willingness to pay. The highest amounts are offered by young inhabitants of Szczecinek City and Szczecinek County. On the other hand, tourists resting in Central Pomerania value lake ecosystems most often on the basis of aesthetic values, without knowing the ecological condition of the lake. The average ticket price which the respondents are willing to pay is PLN 20.40 per day. The lower the ecological condition of the lake, the lower the willingness to pay, especially among the inhabitants of the region under study.
The amounts declared constitute important information for lake managers who are able to compare the costs incurred so far with the potential profi ts from ticket sales. Moreover, thanks to the use of the Contingent Valuation Method, it is possible to determine which lakes have the highest value for recreationists and to manage them in such a way as to prevent their degradation in the future and, consequently, to prevent the deterioration of the value of ecosystem services.
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