Recreation Conflict - Goal Interference
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Wang, C. and C. Dawson. 2005. "Recreation conflict along New York's Great Lakes coast." Coastal Management 33(3): 297-314.

This study uses the goal interference model to research recreation conflict among three different user groups in New York State's Great Lake coastal areas. Motorboat users, personal watercraft users, and riparian landowners were asked about levels of perceived conflict and the source of that conflict. Each respondent was also asked a series of question intended to measure the dimensions of the goal interference model: activity style, resource specification, mode of experience and lifestyle tolerance. A linear function was constructed that modeled goal interference as a function of all the elements of these dimensions. Logistic regression models indicated that one or more dimensions were significant in predicting perceived conflict and the models correctly predicted conflict in over 70% to 100% of the cases. While there was some variation, activity style was the most frequent significant predictor of goal interference. Generally, however, goal interference theory can be seen as a general model, and the significance of each of the four dimensions depends on the types of recreation activities and users.

Vaske, J., R. Dyar and N. Timmons. 2004. "Skill level and recreation conflict among skiers and snowboarders." Leisure Sciences 26(2): 215-225.

This paper specifically examines the issue of participant skill level as a factor in out-group and in-group conflict by conducting surveys with skiers and snowboarders at five different Colorado ski resorts. Two particular hypotheses were tested: 1) individuals with greater skills in skiing and snowboarding would experience more conflict than those with less ability, and 2) across all skill levels, skiers and snowboarders would experience more out-group than in-group conflict. A total of 383 skiers and 212 snowboarders were asked to rate their skill level on a four-point scale (beginner, intermediate, advanced, or expert). Conflict was measured by asking respondents the frequency with which other skiers or snowboarders a) failed to be aware of others around them, b) were not keeping an adequate distance from others, c) failed to yield the right of way to the downhill skier/snowboarder, d) behaved in a discourteous manner, e) cut others off, and f) failed to be aware of and yield to less advanced skiers/snowboarders. The results of the study supported both hypotheses. As perceived skill level increased, out-group and in-group conflict increased for both skiers and snowboarders. Within each skill level, skiers reported more unacceptable behaviors by snowboarders than with fellow skiers, and snowboarders also identified more out-group than in-group conflict.

Stokowski, P. 2002. "Languages of place and discourses of power: Constructing new senses of place." Journal of Leisure Research 34(4): 368-382.

This article reviews the literature on the concept of the "sense of place" and its treatment in leisure research. One of the four principle variables that is seen to lead to conflict in the goal interference model is attachment to place. While this article falls outside of the recreation conflict literature, it provides an excellent review of the concept of "sense of place" which is typically used to refer to an individual's ability to develop feelings of attachment to a particular setting based on combinations of use, attentiveness, and emotion. While sense of place is often imbued with positive values, critics point out that places are more than simply geographic sites. Places can be fluid, changeable, dynamic, contexts of social interaction and memory, and they "contain" overt and covert social practices. These practices embed in place-making behaviors notions of ideology, power, control, conflict, dominance, and distribution of social and physical resources. The scholarship emphasizes that sense of place is a socially constructed, is always in the process of being created, is always provisional and uncertain, and is always capable of being manipulated towards individual or collective ends. The author concludes that research on the sense of place in leisure and tourism should focus on language and discourse, and should begin with the question of "how are leisure places socially constructed with political consequences?"

Vaske, J., P. Carothers, M. Donnelly and B. Baird. 2000. "Recreation conflict among skiers and snowboarders." Leisure Sciences 22(4): 297-313.

In this study, a measure of perceived safety is added to Jacob and Schreyer's (1980) four determinants of recreation conflict to examine both out-group and in-group normative beliefs about unacceptable behaviors for skiers and snowboarders. Data was collected through surveys at five ski resorts in Colorado and included survey responses from 383 skiers and 212 snowboarders. The results indicate that skiers reported more unacceptable behaviors by snowboarders than by fellow skiers, and snowboarders likewise reported more unacceptable behaviors by skiers than by fellow snowboarders. The skiers and snowboarders in this study varied in terms of the four goal interference determinants of conflict - activity style, resource specificity, mode of experience, lifestyle tolerance - and the fifth determinant - safety. Only one of the determinants, activity style, significantly influenced both out-group and in-group conflict in both the skier and the snowboarder path models. The results suggest that the goal interference model may be more applicable to out-group conflict. The path models, however, only explained a high of 44% of the variance in conflict in the skier out-group model and a low of 10% in the skier in-group model.

Steinberg, P. and G. Clark. 1999. "Troubled water? Acquiescence, conflict, and the politics of place in watershed management." Political Geography 18(4): 477-508.

This article does not fit squarely within the goal interference literature, but its subject matter, the conflict of place, does. One of the four key factors that leads to conflict in the goal interference model is the attachment to the recreation place. This particular study investigates the controversy surrounding proposed revisions in access and recreation policy at central Massachusetts' Wachusett Reservoir, which is a crucial source of drinking water for metropolitan Boston. This conflict exemplifies the broader tensions that exist in many areas between rural and exurban areas with metropolitan areas. Most often it is the more powerful metropolitan areas and their need for resources and space for urban growth which tend to overwhelm rural concerns. In this case, it is Boston's need for safe drinking water that conflicts with the reservoir region's residents' desires for recreation and frustrations with strict controls on such things as septic systems. Despite this tension, data gathered from surveys at the reservoir, supplementary interviews, archival research, and attendance at public meetings reveal that many potential sites of acrimony are characterized by positive attempts to reclaim place rather than direct opposition to outside domination. Although tensions persist between Boston and the Wachusett region, area residents' complex valuation of the reservoir as a space of utility and a place of everyday life suggests opportunities for consensual resource coalitions and initiatives.

Blahna, D., K. Smith and J. Anderson. 1995. "Backcountry llama packing: Visitor perceptions of acceptability and conflict." Leisure Sciences 17(3): 185-204.

This paper investigates the reaction of visitors to encountering a non-traditional backcountry recreational activities: llama packing. The research is based-primarily on the goal interference model of conflict, but this study also expands the conception of conflict beyond intergroup characteristics by using other metrics that measure levels of social acceptability. A survey of 337 visitors was conducted at the Bechler Meadow region of Yellowstone National Park and the Jedediah Smith Wilderness on the Targhee National Forest. Respondents were asked about past encounters with llamas, perceptions of conflicts and problems resulting from llama use, and attitudes toward five dimensions of social acceptability of llamas: social conflict, safety, physical impacts, managerial equity, and philosophical ''appropriateness.'' Conflicts and problems related to llama use were low in both study areas, though horseback riders were more likely to have concerns than hikers. In general, the results indicated that the social acceptability of new or non-traditional activities is not just a the result of judgments related to social, environmental, and managerial conditions. Factors such as safety and philosophical appropriateness were also important elements in visitors' assessments of acceptability of llama packing. Managers cannot assume that a non-traditional activity is unacceptable and should focus on informational and educational approaches rather than simple reliance on zoning areas for different activities. Given the results of this study, managers also cannot assume that all packstock (horses and llamas) should be zoned together.

Gibbons, S. and E. Ruddell. 1995. "The effect of goal orientation and place dependence on select goal interferences among winter backcountry users." Leisure Sciences 17(3): 171-183.

This study uses the goal interference theory of conflict to examine the a newly emerging conflict between helicopter skiing and other winter recreationists. In particular, this study examines two of Jacob and Schreyer's propositions for variables that lead to conflict: goal orientation and place dependence. This study surveyed 244 helicopter skiers and 266 non-motorized backcountry users in the Wasatch Mountains in Utah. Like many previous studies, this research found a significant asymmetrical group conflict with helicopter skiers being impacted very little by non-motorized backcountry users. Group type was the strongest predictor of whether helicopter skiing would cause goal interference. Relationships between goal orientation, place dependence, and goal interference varied depending on the kind of interference attribution and the kind of goal involved. Goal orientation was associated with setting-based goal interferences regardless of whether attributions were made to helicopter skiing or more general discourteous behavior. Place dependence was associated with both setting-based and activity-based goal interferences, but only when attributions were made to helicopter skiing.

Ramthun, R. 1995. "Factors in user group conflict between hikers and mountain bikers." Leisure Sciences 17(3): 159-169.

This study examines the conflict between mountain bikers and hikers using the Big Water trail system in Utah. As in previous studies a decidedly asymmetrical conflict pattern emerged with hikers perceiving much more conflict with mountain bikers than mountain bikers with hikers. For factors were analyzed for their contribution to conflict: frequency of participation, outgroup evaluation, years of experience and leisure activity identification. A path model was tested that saw these factors as impacting sensitivity to conflict, and sensitivity leading to conflict attribution. Outgroup bias and years of participation were found to have statistically significant effects on sensitivity to goal interference, while sensitivity was found to have a significant effect on actual conflict attribution. The authors conclude that efforts to reduce bias and promote tolerance for other user groups are an effective approach to user group conflicts.

Vaske, J., M. Donnelly, K. Wittmann and S. Laidlaw. 1995. "Interpersonal versus social-values conflict." Leisure Sciences 17(3): 205-222.

This study empirically examines the theoretical distinction between interpersonal conflict and conflict in social values using empirical data from surveys of visitors to Mt. Evans, Colorado. The results of the study indicate that interpersonal conflicts between hunters and non-hunters are relatively low, with very few non-hunters or former hunters seeing an animal being shot (less than 5%), seeing people hunting (10% or less), and hearing gunshots (15% or less). More people had seen others feeding wildlife, between 43% of non-hunters and 62% for hunters, and disturbing or harassing wildlife, 18% for non-hunters to 37% for hunters. Generally however, the natural visual barriers and the managing agency's regulations that prohibit hunting near the road were minimized due to the mountain's natural visual barriers. However, to the extent that conflict exists with hunting associated event son Mt. Evans, much of problem stems from differences in social values held by hunting and non-hunting publics. For many of measures reported above, there was more reported perceived problems than there were observed events. Analyses examining the interaction between type of visitor (hunters versus non-hunters) and number of prior visits (first visit, two to four visits, and five or more visits) suggested that conflicts in social values remained constant across frequency of visitation, but varied between visitor type.

Ruddell, E. J. and J. H. Gramann. 1994. "Goal orientation, norms, and noise-induced conflict among recreation areas users." Leisure Sciences 16(2): 93-104.

This study evaluates the goal interference theory of recreation conflict using data from a survey of 338 winter visitors to Padre Island National Seashore, Texas. The goal interference model defines interpersonal conflict as behavior of others that interferes with personal recreational goals. The model also proposes that variations in personal standards of appropriate behavior for a setting were a major source of such interference. The theory, however, did not address that possibility that some goals may be more vulnerable to interference from physically obtrusive behavior than others. This study finds that visitors motivated by goals such as being with people considerate and respectful of others were more likely to perceive interference from loud radios than were visitors motivated by the goal to be with friends or other people like themselves. The authors conclude that the more the success of goal achievement rests on factors beyond the direct control of the actor, the greater the likelihood of conflict. Visitors whose individual norms for radio volumes were equal to or less tolerant than the social norm were more likely to experience interference from radios whose loudness exceeded the social norm, supporting the role of normative violations in recreation conflict.

Watson, A. E., M. J. Niccolucci and D. R. Williams. 1994. "The nature of conflict between hikers and recreational stock users in the John-Muir-Wilderness." Journal of Leisure Research 26(4): 372-385.

This study investigates the extent of conflict between hikers and recreational stock users in the John Muir Wilderness in the Sierra Nevada wilderness and tests the relative importance of various hypothetical predictors of conflict using multiple conflict measures. The ability to predict conflict between the two user groups was high when using the goal interference dimensions of conflict: definition of place, specialization, focus of trip/expectations, and lifestyle tolerance. However, this study found the strongest relationship was between hypothesized determinants and the attitudes hikers maintain toward encountering stock groups, rather than between hypothesized determinants and a goal interference measure of conflict. This finding suggests that conflict may arise because of other incompatibilities besides goals, such as visitor norms.

Watson, A. E., M. J. Niccolucci and D. R. Williams. 1993. Hikers and recreational stocks users: Predicting and managing conflicts in three wildernesses. Intermountain Research Station Research Paper INT-468. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.

This study takes a detailed look at conflicts between hikers and recreational stock users in three wilderness areas: the John Muir Wilderness; the Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness and the Charles C. Deam Wilderness. Using the goal interference model proposed by Jacob and Schreyer, along with modifications suggested by subsequent research, the determinants of conflict between these two users groups were assessed through user surveys. Three measures of conflict (two attitudinal - enjoyment/dislike and a 5-point Likert scale of desirable to undesirable - and one goal interference - interference with with the quality of a wilderness experience) were used to assess 17 potential predictors of conflict. The predictors of conflict more accurately predicted attitudinal measures of conflict than they predicted the goal interference measure of conflict, which is a result consistent with other research. Strong and consistent predictors of conflict between hikers and horse users were general feelings of inappropriateness of horse use in wilderness, differences in perceptions of visitors' status related to horse use, differences in the strength of attachment to the wilderness, and the value placed on opportunities for solitude. From a management perspective, the option of separating uses by providing some trails for hikers only is generally supported by hikers, but not by horse users. The authors conclude that while persuasive and educational messages may reduce conflict between hikers and horse users, if managers fail to reduce the number of encounters that create conflict or impacts of horse use that hikers label as inappropriate, they may find some restrictions on horse use to be necessary.

Ivy, M. I., W. P. Stewart and C. C. Lue. 1992. "Exploring the role of tolerance in recreational conflict." Journal of Leisure Research 24(4): 348-360.

This study investigates one aspect of the goal interference model of recreation conflict, individual tolerance. This paper hypothesizes that as individual tolerance for another activity group and one's willingness to share resources with that other activity group increases, perceived goal interference should decrease. It was expected that fulfillment of expectations for the number of encounters with the other activity groups would also influence conflict. If the expected number of encounters was underestimated, then perceived conflict would increase. Two regression models, corresponding to the two activity groups (motorboaters and canoeists), were developed to estimate the effect of "tolerance" and "fulfillment of expectations" on "perceived conflict". Like other previous studies, an asymmetrical conflict relationship was found between motorboaters and canoers. The model for canoeists indicated that tolerance and expectations explained 40% of the variation in conflict; while the model for motorboaters indicated that tolerance explained 13% of the variation in conflict and expectations was not significant. From a management perspective, one particular result stands out in that canoeists who over-estimated the number of encounters with motorboaters perceived less conflict. This suggests a management strategy to over-emphasis the likelihood of these experiences as a way to minimize user conflicts.

Adelman, B. J. E., T. A. Heberlein and T. M. Bonnicksen. 1982. "Social psychological explanations for the persistence of a conflict between paddling canoeists and motorcraft users in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area." Leisure Sciences 5(1): 45-61.

This study finds evidence for an asymmetrical conflict between paddling canoeists and motorcraft users in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BCWA). This paper attempts to use social psychological attraction theory to attempt to explain why the conflict occurs and persists. A field questionnaire and follow-up mailed questionnaire was administered to 300 people to test the hypothesis that perceived similarity, perceptions of the BWCA, reasons for coming to the BWCA, competition for resources, and greeting behaviors, were factors influencing the asymmetrical conflict. This study found support for the influence of all these factors. When comparing the results to earlier studies in the BWCA, the results suggests that attitudes amongst canoeists have polarized, and not improved, over time. In contrast, the motorcraft users not only perceive paddlers as similar, but the smiles and waves of canoes while out in the BWCA only obscure the negative feelings held by canoeists.

Jackson, E. L. and R. A. G. Wong. 1982. "Perceived conflict between urban cross-country skiers and snowmobilers in Alberta." Journal of Leisure Research 14(1): 47-62.

This study looks at three indicators of perceived conflict between urban cross-country skiers and snowmobilers in Alberta, Canada. The results indicate that conflict between these groups is asymmetrical with skier perceiving snowmobilers interfering negatively with their activity, while snowmobilers are indifferent to meeting skiers. While snowmobilers do not have conflict with skiers on the trail, they may have negative attitudes towards skiers because of off-site confrontations. The conflict between skiers and snowmobilers is seen as being more fundamental than simply a conflict between these two activities. Cross-country skiers have an aversion to mechanization in recreation and are motivated to recreate in order fulfill needs of solitude, tranquility, physical exercises, and to develop an awareness of the natural environment. In contrast, snowmobilers are more machine-orientated, with a leaning towards socialization, adventurousness, and escapism.

Gramann, J. H. and R. J. Burdge. 1981. "The effect of recreation goals on conflict perception: The case of water skiers and fishermen." Journal of Leisure Research 13(1): 15-27.

This study makes an empirical test of the goal interference model of recreation conflict using a case study of water skiers and fisherman. As an early study of goal interference, it puts particular emphasis on the incompatibility with social, psychological, or physical goals of another group. This study found only weak support for the incompatibility of goals model. Variations in conflict perception among fisherman were somewhat related to variations in recreation goals, as fisherman who placed greater emphasis on tension release, various forms of escape, and nature enjoyment were more likely to define high-speed boating as "reckless". The authors speculate that much conflict is not related to goal incompatibility, but instead to competition for space. Later research on goal interference has emphasized that goal interference may occur even when recreation users share similar goals, as participating in their respective activities (and interacting in space) may be enough to cause significant goal interference.

Jacob, G. R. and R. Schreyer. 1980. "Conflict in outdoor recreation: A theoretical perspective." Journal of Leisure Research 12: 368-380.

This paper develops a definition of conflict in outdoor recreation and hypothesizes four broad factors that lead to conflict. It has become the mostly used definition of conflict and the theory of conflict it proposes is labeled as either the goal interference or interpersonal model. Conflict is defined as "For an individual, conflict is defined as goal interference attributed to another's behavior". Conflict is seen as a special class of user dissatisfaction and the cause of the dissatisfaction in another's behavior. The paper uses past work on conflict to speculate that the principal factors behind outdoor recreation conflict include: activity style, resource specificity, mode of experience and lifestyle tolerance. They explore the issues related to these four factors to propose ten propositions about outdoor recreation conflict. They define activity style as "personal meanings attached to the set of behaviors constituting a recreation activity." Resource specificity is defined as "the importance and individual attaches to the use of a particular recreation resources." Mode of experience is defined as ways of experiencing the environment ranging from "unfocused to focused." While, tolerance for lifestyle diversity is defined as "unwillingness to share resources with members of other lifestyle groups."

Shelby, B. 1980. "Contrasting recreational experiences: Motors and oars in the Grand Canyon." Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 35: 129-131.

This study uses an experimental design to investigate the different experiences of motorized and non-motorized river runners in the Grand Canyon. A group of river runners traveled half the canyon in oar-powered boats and half the canyon in motor boats. People in the experiment preferred the oar-boat experience because of the pace of travel, smaller more comfortable social groupings and enhanced sensitivity to the natural environment. Many of the preferred aspects of the oar-boat experience related to style of travel and characteristics of the boat itself (e.g. size and possible speed). The author concludes that management actions need to be related to management goals, and in particular, to managing the desired visitor experience. Given the results of this study managers will reach different conclusions if they are managing for "wilderness experience" versus managing for "excursion experience" or to "see the place." While this study does not document recreation conflict per se, the study does measure visitor satisfaction which is often used in conflict research. Additionally, motorized versus non-motorized travel on river is often a subject of intense conflict among recreation users and a particular management challenge.

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