The current paper presents the results of a contingent valuation for evaluating the environmental quality in the Atatürk Urban Forest of Bursa, Turkey. The environmental quality parameter under investigation at this recreational site is congestion. Congestion is an important externality having impacts that both limit common facilities and damage natural ecosystems. When users have to pay the same price for lower environmental quality, degraded ecosystems can cause negative impacts on users' satisfaction levels due to congestion. We employed a qualitative response model to learn the covariate effects and mean willingness to pay for shifting congestion levels. Welfare effects of congestion levels offer robust policy options to local policy-makers and on-site management. Consequences point to a resource enlarging policy rather than restrictions on visitor numbers. © 2011 WIT Press.