Applying the McDonaldization thesis and norm activation model to examine trends and effects of commercial outdoor recreation and tourism in Juneau, Alaska Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/3r074z380

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  • As recreation and tourism visitation increases and government budgets decrease, public land management agencies are using private commercial operators as an alternative source of offering products and services. Changes and trends in commercial outdoor recreation and tourism such as a large scale increase in the number of visitors can affect communities, visitors, and natural resources. Objectives of this research were to focus on commercial outfitters on the Tongass National Forest in the Juneau, Alaska area, and examine their: (a) changes in visitors served and activities offered, (b) awareness of effects of commercial recreation and tourism on visitors and local communities, (c) ascription of responsibility for these effects, and (d) behavior to improve conditions. Data were obtained from 23 semi structured interviews of commercial outfitters in the Juneau area. Findings showed that the Juneau area has experienced changes such as an increase in the number and diversity of visitors served and activities offered mainly due to the influence of the cruise industry. These changes reflected principles of McDonaldization (i.e., efficiency, calculability, predictability, control) despite some seemingly contrary evidence of uniqueness, customization, and flexibility. Results also showed that outfitter perceived effects of and behavior toward commercial recreation and tourism were mostly social and managerial in nature. Awareness of negative effects included more general impacts of the tourism industry (e.g., crowding, noise), whereas positive effects were more specific to the outfitter (e.g., tour service, infrastructure provisions to community). Impact ownership and personal initiative played important roles in outfitters' ascription of responsibility and proactive behaviors, and largely focused on self enforced and industry created codes of conduct (e.g., Tourism Best Management Practices). Informal sanctions (e.g., desire to be good neighbors, obligation to environment) offered important means to improve conditions.
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