A model of campsite choice in dispersed recreation settings Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/s7526f53t

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  • Research on campsite selection behavior has given managers of outdoor recreation resources a better understanding of users' needs and preferences. However, researchers have found nagging inconsistencies, not only across settings but also between campers' stated preferences and their actual behavior. This thesis re-examines the campsite selection research in light of more recent studies of recreationists' decision-making processes. A model is developed and tested in two popular recreation areas in the Pacific Northwest. Analysis of previous research suggests a three-stage campsite choice model, mitigated by a satisficing mechanism. Campers first consider whether potential sites have "necessity attributes" which meet basic camping needs. Sites which pass this test are then evaluated for "experience attributes" which can facilitate preferred experience outcomes. "Amenity attributes" not central to the camping experience are weighed in a final stage. However, the process may be cut short due to incomplete information, fatigue, perceived competition for sites, or goal differences within the camping party. The model was tested by surveying visitors to the Deschutes River State Scenic Waterway in Oregon and Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington. Respondents were asked to rate the importance of various campsite attributes and of a series of experience goals. In both settings, necessity attributes tended to be rated most important, followed by experience attributes and amenity attributes. Correlation analysis confirmed that experience attributes are rated more highly when people believe they can enhance the likelihood of achieving experience goals. However, respondents in both surveys stressed one or two experience attributes that they rated more highly than some necessity attributes. The high importance ratings given to certain experience attributes may indicate that experience goals can be so important that achieving them is a necessity. It is also likely that the research methodology could have encouraged over-emphasis of experience attributes. Ways of avoiding methodological pitfalls in future research are discussed, as are potential extensions of campsite choice research based upon the model.
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