- Studies of crowding in backcountry recreation areas
have generally shown that only a minor part of the total
variance in perceived crowding is explained by density and
interaction. This suggests that users of backcountry areas have
learned ways of coping with people in these settings, where one
of the major goals is often experiencing solitude. Three
strategies are used by individuals to cope with crowding. Behavioral
coping mechanisms are actions taken by individuals to
avoid others. Cognitive coping is a reappraisal of the situation
so the higher interaction level is no longer inappropriate.
Perceptual coping focuses one's attention on other non-density
related features, giving less attention to other people in the
environment. Coping with crowding is hypothesized to occur in
backcounry areas as users encounter more and more other people;
that is, they will use the three strategies outlined above to
reduce the impact of seeing "too many" people. Data are from
crowding studies of two whitewater rivers in Oregon, the Rogue
and the Illinois. Behavioral and cognitive coping data come
from Interview and questionnaire responses of 251 commercial float trip passengers on the Rogue and 255 commercial and private
floaters on the Illinois. Perceptual coping data are from
records of trained observers who accompanied commercial trips on
the Rogue; in this case, comparative data from a study of
floaters on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon are also used.
Results show the existence of behavioral and cognitive coping.
However, perceptual coping results are ambiguous. Implications
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