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Coping with crowding in backcountry recreation areas : Studies of two Oregon rivers Public Deposited

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  • 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 are discussed.
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