Human-environmental interrelationships in recreation settings: A spatial approach
AdvisorDaniel, Terry C.
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.
AbstractOutdoor recreation and eco-tourism are areas of increasing interest to land management agencies worldwide. As commodity extraction values decline, and the demand for nature based recreation rises, there is a commensurate shift in the goals and management of undeveloped environments. Paralleling this rapid expansion of recreation uses is a concern for managing its future growth and its environmental impacts. Due to the complexity of the relationship between recreational use and impacts on both environmental resources and the quality of visitor experience, researchers and recreation managers have employed a number of simplifying assumptions. Impacts are typically represented by average values over large areas and/or over widely differing recreation experiences. This geographic homogenization is both theoretically inadequate and impractical. Recreation experiences must be understood as the result of specific activities carried out in specific environmental settings, and effective recreation management, integrated with other environmental resource concerns, requires geo-spatial representation. This study investigates the effectiveness of coupling computer based Geographical Information System (GIS) approaches with traditional social sciences survey methods to improve assessments of nature-based recreation activities and experiences, and their environmental impacts. Secondary analyses of preexisting data collected in the East Huachuca Mountain recreation area in Coronado National Forest, Arizona provided measures of spatial distributions of the number of users, and of social, managerial and environmental detractors from the quality of recreation experiences. GIS analysis identified the most likely locations for specific activities (e.g. hiking, camping, hunting), for negative social encounters (e.g. hikers meeting with mountain bikers), for managerial and environmental detractors from recreation quality (e.g. inadequate trail signage, presence of litter and trash, soil erosion). Thus, although respondents in general reported they had overall positive experiences, spatial analysis revealed consistently negative experiences in some specific sites. GIS analysis methods provide new opportunities to improve upon recreation theory by better addressing the naturally spatial character of recreation experience. More precisely geo-referenced recreation survey and assessment methods enable more effective integration of recreation values and impacts into the inherently geo spatial ecosystem management framework.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Renewable Natural Resources