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Influencing Leave No Trace behavioral intentions in frontcountry visitors to national and state parks

Date

2013

Authors

Lawhon, James B., author
Newman, Peter, advisor
Vagias, Wade, committee member
Payne, Sarah, committee member
Bruyere, Brett, committee member

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Abstract

Resource degradation resulting from visitor behavior continues to be a significant concern for land managers, and effective educational messages such as those promoted through Leave No Trace, which target depreciative behaviors, are imperative. This thesis examined psychological and knowledge variables that were hypothesized to influence Leave No Trace behavioral intent of visitors to national and state parks. While knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of outdoor enthusiasts in the context of Leave No Trace have been studied in backcountry visitors, research pertaining to frontcountry visitors is limited. Chapter 1 examined specific factors that influence Leave No Trace behavioral intent in visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park. Data were obtained from an on-site survey administered to individuals (N = 390, response rate 74%) in the Bear Lake corridor of the park. Results of a regression analysis revealed that perceived effectiveness of Leave No Trace practices is a significant predictor of future behavioral intent (B > .21, p < .001, in all cases). Frontcountry visitors like those at Bear Lake are more likely to practice Leave No Trace if they perceive the practices to be effective at reducing impacts. Chapter 2 examined variables that were hypothesized to influence Leave No Trace behavioral intent in state park visitors. Data were obtained from an on-site survey administered to individuals (N = 346, response rate 93%) in three Wyoming state parks and historic sites. Results suggest that both attitudes and the perceived effectiveness of Leave No Trace practices are meaningful predictors of behavioral intent in state park visitors, and that messaging targeting these variables can be effective at influencing behavioral intent. Both chapters in this thesis provide specific managerial implications that could strengthen Leave No Trace educational efforts in frontcountry locations by targeting specific attitudes and perceptions about recommended Leave No Trace practices in order to influence behavioral intentions. Furthermore, the results indicate that visitors to national parks and state parks could generally benefit from a more uniform approach to Leave No Trace education, which is likely to enhance overall adoption of Leave No Trace by land managers across the agency spectrum.

Description

2013 Fall.
Includes bibliographical references.

Rights Access

Subject

Leave No Trace
impact
outdoor ethics
environmental education
frontcountry

Citation

Associated Publications