Management implications of displacement and product shift : longitudinal research on the Rogue River Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/0r9678047

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  • While resource managers often rely on feedback from recreation users on which to base long-term decisions, displacement (when users dissatisfied with crowding or resource impacts move on to more remote sites) and product shift (users respond to increased densities by changing their definition of the recreation experience) are viewed as elements which may confound the reliability of this information. Concerned that these processes may obscure broad social and environmental changes that occur over time, researchers have sought to explain contributory factors. However, single study cross-sectional research makes it difficult to measure impacts on the changing user. Instead, longitudinal research has a greater capacity to determine specific reasons for displacement and to analyze the factors contributing to product shift. This thesis uses findings from longitudinal research (one 14-year panel study and two successive cross-sectional studies) to examine displacement and product shift among floaters on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River in Southwest Oregon. Displacement results largely supported five hypotheses: (1) on-site social, resource, and management factors are displacers, (2) external influences that are out of managerial control can cause use to be discontinued or decreased, (3) individual visitor characteristics influence succession-displacement decisions and are useful as indicators, (4) the river's permit system is an involuntary displacer and fosters alternative strategies for running the river, and (5) users employ behavioral coping mechanisms to avoid encounters. Previous product shift research suggests that as use levels increase (1) visitors will cognitively adjust their experience definitions rather than become dissatisfied, (2) perceived crowding will not change, (3) encounter norms will increase to accommodate additional contacts, and (4) satisfaction will remain high. Findings generally supported the hypotheses, although several incongruities exposed by the panel data suggest that there may be limits on product shift assumptions. Long-term repeat visitors did not shift their encounter norms and their satisfaction ratings decreased over the 14-year study period. In addition to the research findings, benefits of using the longitudinal methodology and implications for management are discussed.
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