AuthorFlickinger, Mark John.
Committee ChairWilkin, Donovan
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractSince national park visitation has been rapidly increasing each year, the National Park Service (NPS) has been struggling to manage their popular parks and control automobile-related problems: urbanization, crowding, emission pollution, and damage to natural resources. However, the advent of the mountain-bike and increased public interest in bicycling presents an opportunity for the NPS to alleviate its automobile use problems by enabling bicycle use as a transportation alternative. The purpose of this dissertation is to clarify the role of bicycle use in national parks and enable the NPS to create informed policies to support this role. A review was conducted of NPS bicycle facilities and use. An in-depth examination, involving four surveys and three case studies, was made of the personal and social aspects affecting bicycle use. Results indicated that perceptions about bicycle use and favorable support for increased access within national parks is generally consistent among the groups surveyed: trail users, general park visitors, and park service employees within park units and regional administrative offices. As an alternative to automobile use, the advantages of bicycling in front-country areas of parks appear to offset any disadvantages; while within back-country areas, the disadvantages appear to outweigh the advantages. To successfully increase bicycle access, plans should be created which maximize the benefits of bicycling and minimize potential disadvantages. Safety issues, trail user conflicts, and resource damage can be reduced through effective design. A focus should be placed on separating trail user groups and providing safe bicycle access on park roadways. National parks offer unique opportunities for bicycling since they attract a wide range of age groups and provide a relatively safe environment. Yet compared to local and state government agencies, the NPS appears to be lagging behind in the development of bicycle facilities. The three greatest impediments for improving facilities in national parks are lack of funding, rigidity in current transportation policies, and funding strategies that are centered on automobile use.
Degree ProgramRenewable Natural Resources