Recreation Conflict - Managing Recreation Conflict
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Roe, M. and J. Benson. 2001. "Planning for conflict resolution: Jet-ski use on the Northumberland coast." Coastal Management 29(1): 19-39.

The study takes a much different approach to most recreation conflict research, in its examination of conflicts associated with personal watercraft (PWCs) on the Northumberland coastline. Instead of research focusing on conflict situations at a specific recreation site, this research uses a survey of 150 recreation interest groups and agencies to highlight specific issues with PWCs and comment on appropriate management actions. Management suggestions included legislation, voluntary agreements, zoning, control by clubs, physical barriers, and information and publicity. The results of the survey were used to develop a strategic framework that would act as a mechanism under which conflicts could be identified and resolved. The principles adopted and the study approach and methods illustrate a useful way to provide locally relevant proposals to deal with the dilemmas of managing "new wave" sports such as jet-skiing in ecologically sensitive and aesthetically important coastal landscapes.

Stewart, W. and D. Cole. 2001. "Number of encounters and experience quality in grand canyon backcountry: Consistently negative and weak relationships." Journal of Leisure Research 33(1): 106-120.

This study explores one of the most common topics of outdoor recreation research, the relationship between encounters and the overall quality of recreation experience. Many previous studies have found a weak relationship between satisfaction with the recreation experience and the influence of encounters with other recreationists. The literature, however, is unclear whether this a finding related to methodological issues or whether it is a finding that reveals a fundamental lack of relationship. This study, therefore, uses a more novel research method, a diary-like method, to control for variation in person-based effects (e.g. differences in expectations and motivations between individuals) and a multi-item scale designed to capture more variation in total experience quality. A total of 185 overnight backpackers to the Grand Canyon National Park were surveyed to explore the relationship between number of encounters, crowding, solitude/privacy achieved, and overall experience quality. The results indicate that most backpackers were negatively affected by encountering more groups, but the resultant effect was small. The authors believe that this result implies that managers should be reluctant to justify use restrictions as an attempt to provide higher quality visitor experiences. Instead, managers need to develop a careful understanding of the regional supply and demand for different types of recreation experiences, including low density experiences, as these factors are more likely to provide the basis for wise decisions about use limits.

Whittaker, D., M. Manfredo, P. Fix, R. Sinnott, S. Miller and J. Vaske. 2001. "Understanding beliefs and attitudes about an urban wildlife hunt near Anchorage, Alaska." Wildlife Society Bulletin 29(4): 1114-1124.

This study investigates the attitudes of residents of Anchorage, Alaska towards a management prescribed hunt to control moose populations in the city. A survey of 971 residents revealed their attitudes towards a tightly controlled moose hunting scenario with survey respondents being asked to rate different hunt outcomes as likely and unlikely as well as whether they were viewed the outcomes as as good or bad. Results showed that a majority (51%) support for the hunt, although 34% were opposed and 15% were undecided. Not surprisingly, there was considerable divergence in opinion between those who supported the hunt and those opposed to it on such issues as whether the hunt would reduce accidents, reduce encounters, permanently reduce numbers, injure someone, cost a lot to administer, prevent non-hunter use or eliminate moose in the area. Respondents unsure about the hunt generally held beliefs that were intermediate between those for and against the hunt, offering an explanation for their neutrality. The results revealed which hunt factors were based more on peoples' values and which factors might be influenced by management action or education programs.

Hammitt, W. E. and I. E. Schneider. 2000. "Recreation conflict management". In Trends in Outdoor Recreation, Leisure and Tourism, edited by W. C. Gartner and D. W. Lime, 347-356. New York: CABI Publishing.

This article reviews the study and management of conflict in recreation. It emphasizes that conflict does not always lead simply to negative impacts, but can have positive influences. For example, conflict can indicate when something within the current system needs attention and force a management response. Four eras of recreation conflict management are discussed. The first era, the activity-space allocation era, focused on the issue of competition for recreation space and emphasized issues relating to crowding, over-use, and activity and space incompatibility. Management actions focused on separating uses in both time and space. The second era, the perception-cause era, focused on understanding the behavioral aspects of recreation conflict with a focus on motivations, user perceptions, preferences and social carrying capacity. Management actions in this era focused on education programs, the recreation opportunity spectrum and social carrying capacity models. The third era, the institutional-public involvement era, was dominated by an emphasis on values and interest groups in the planning process. During this era management made attempts, which were often mandated, to involve the public in decision-making. In the fourth era, the coping-resolution era, recreation conflict is recognized as an inevitable part of outdoor recreation and, instead, research and management have focused on how people cope with and respond to conflict. Management has increasingly focused on more participatory involvement of stakeholders and the recognition that conflict can not be avoided, but multiple strategies exist to minimize the amount and the negative impact of the conflict that does occur.

Manning, R. E. 1999. "Crowding in outdoor recreation: Use level, perceived crowding and satisfaction." In Studies in Outdoor Recreation: Search and Research for Satisfaction, Second Edition, 80-121. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press.

This chapter reviews the significant body of literature on crowding in recreation. Crowding is seen as one conflict mechanism. However, the postulated "satisfaction model" - where there is an inverse relationship between crowding and recreation - has generally not been well supported by empirical research. There are a number of reasons for this including: displacement of visitors sensitive to crowding, different personal definitions of crowding, psychological coping behaviors, types of people or group encountered, the place where the encounter takes place, whether the contacts between users are measured objectively or self-reported, and, most importantly, the fact that satisfaction is a multi-faceted concept that is influenced on partially by use level and perceived crowding. These research results have some important implications for management. In particular the author suggests that satisfaction is not an appropriate measure for managing use level and crowding. Management attention should be focused on contact levels (rather than use level) and on zones managed to encourage relatively homogenous groups in terms of party type, size, and behavior.

Manning, R. E. 1999. "The Recreation Opportunity Spectrum: Designs for diversity." In Studies in Outdoor Recreation: Search and Research for Satisfaction, Second Edition, 176-193. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press.

This chapter presents the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) which is a formalized recreation classification system. The ROS has been defined in a number of ways, but this chapter uses a seven class classification system: primitive, semi-primitive non motorized, semi-primitive motorized, rustic, concentrated and modern urbanized. At its core the ROS is a conceptual framework for encouraging diversity in outdoor recreation opportunities. It also provides a framework for considering how to separate incompatible recreation uses and minimize conflict between these uses.

Dennis, D. F. 1998. "Analyzing public inputs to multiple objective decisions on national forests using conjoint analysis." Forest Science 44(3): 421-429.

This study focuses on public perspectives of approach multiple-use regimes for national forests. The emphasis is not only the compatibility or desirability between different recreational uses, but also between different recreational uses and different types of forest management. This study uses a novel approach, employing a conjoint ranking survey to solicit public preferences for various levels of timber harvesting, wildlife habitats, hiking trails, snowmobile use, and off-road vehicle access in the Green Mountain National Forest. Despite high levels of conflict and extreme positions seen during public debates on these issues, the results of this study found more tempered opinions. Respondents preferred moderate levels of timber harvesting and snowmobile access and lower levels of off-road vehicle access. They favored a mixture of mature closed canopy and younger more open forests over either extreme and were somewhat indifferent toward extending the network of hiking trails. These study illustrates one approach for determining peoples' perceptions on the relatively compatibility between different recreation uses.

Hammitt, W. E. 1998. The spectrum of conflict in outdoor recreation. Proceedings of the Outdoor Recreation Forum Jan 13-14, 1988 Tampa,

This paper discusses the Recreation Opportunities Spectrum (ROS) framework, which offers a means for planning and managing recreation lands so as to prevent potential conflict situations from occurring. The paper relies on the goal interference model of conflict for understanding how conflict arises. The degree of recreation conflict is seen to be influenced by three primary characteristics: 1) spatial and temporal proximity of activities; 2) degree of environmental dominance inherent in each activity (e.g. consumptive vs non-consumptive); and 3) the extent of participants' dependence on technology. Conflict also occurs among different combinations of three actor groups: visitors, park managers and adjacent community members. The ROS framework adopts the viewpoint that recreation resource managers produce recreation opportunities. A recreation opportunity has three components: an activity, a resource setting, and an experiential component. This paper identifies the potential for conflict within each of these three components and suggests methods for avoiding and mitigating in each of these cases.

Chavez, D. J. 1996. Mountain biking: Issues and actions for USDA Forest Service managers. Pacific Southwest Research Station Research Paper PSW-RP-226. Albany, USDA Forest Service.

This is largely a descriptive study of the types of issues that USDA Forest Service managers encounter with the management of mountain biking on Forest Service lands. A number of issues are identified including issues of management, resource damage, user conflicts, safety and accidents. In terms of user conflicts, managers were asked to indicated the actions that they use to minimize conflicts. Survey respondents indicated four broad categories of actions, which are listed in ranked order by frequency of use: information/education, cooperation, visitor restrictions, and resource hardening.

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.

Moore, R. L. 1994. Conflict on multiple-use trails: synthesis of the literature and state of practice. Report No. FHWA-PD-94-031. Federal Highway Administration. Web Link.

This is a comprehensive literature review of recreation conflict, but with a particular emphasis on multiple use trails. This study emphasizes the "goal interference" model of conflict and finds that multiple-use trail managers are faced with three broad challenges: maintaining user safety, protecting natural resources, and providing high-quality user experiences. Much of the conflict literature has focused on the later issue. The report discusses four categories of management response: physical design, information and education, user involvement, and regulations and enforcement. Finally, based on this review of the literature the report distills twelve principles for minimizing conflicts on multiple-use trails: 1) recognize conflict as goal interference; 2) provide adequate trail opportunities; 2) minimize number of contacts in problem areas; 4) involve users as early as possible; 5) understand user needs; 6) identify the actual sources of conflict; 7) work with affected users; 8) promote trail etiquette; 9)encourage positive interaction among different users; 10) favor "light-handed management"; 11) plan and act locally; and 12) monitor progress.

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.

Shelby, B., J. J. Vaske and T. A. Heberlein. 1989. "Comparative analysis of crowding in multiple locations: results from fifteen years of research." Leisure Sciences 11: 269-291.

This study uses a comparative analysis of 35 studies, which represent the views of over 17,000 people in 59 different recreation settings, to study crowding in outdoor recreation. All the studies use a single-item nine-point Likert scale to assess visitor judgments of crowding. If the nine-point scale is divided to reflect the percentage of respondents experiencing at least some crowding, crowding scores ranged from 12% -100% with a mean of 57%. The comparative analysis suggested that crowding is influenced by a range of factors including time, resource availability, accessibility and convenience, and management strategy. While factors that were found not to influence crowding included region of the United States, whether the activity was consumptive or non-consumptive, and the methodology used to collect the data (on-site surveys or mailed surveys). This study also reexamined earlier work to that looked to use crowding ratings to identify areas with potential carrying capacity problems. In general, crowding does help to identify carrying capacity problems. Areas with crowding in the 35%-50% range appear to "no problem" areas. Areas with crowding in the 50%-65% range should be looked at closely, while in areas with more than 65% crowding there is definite problem. If visitor numbers and impacts are an important part of the experience, it makes sense to freeze use levels immediately when crowding reaches 65% or greater. When more than 80% of visitors feel crowded the only management option to manage these areas for high-density experiences.

Chambers, T. W. M. and C. Price. 1986. "Recreational congestion: some hypotheses tested in the forest of Dean." Rural Studies 2(1): 41-52.

Many studies have failed to find an adverse relationship between crowding and visitors responses. This study looks to test a number hypotheses which may explain these past results including: influence of environmental and site factors; amount of vegetation at a site and its influence on site lines; displacement in terms of timing or choice of site; absence of expectations; or impact of investment in getting to the site. Overall the study found most support for the vegetation, displacement and no-expectations hypotheses, with less convincing support for the environmental and investment hypotheses. Overall, the researchers find that the results of this study restore some credibility to the visitor satisfaction/density model. From a management perspective, the implications of this research are that there are clearly crowd-adverse and less crowd-averse sub-groups. Management actions that attempt to disperse all recreational pressures and facilities evenly through a recreational area may only cause conflict with the crowd-adverse sub-group, and is not necessary to ensure the satisfaction of another sub-group. The natural tendency of different sub-groups to segregate into areas of different intensity of use should not be thwarted.

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.

Alston, R. M. 1975. "The natural resources decision-maker as political and economic man: toward a synthesis." Journal of Environmental Management 3: 167-183.

Within the the natural resource decision-making environment managers must deal with long-run considerations of multifaceted goals, conflict among agency clientele, and ill-defined or non-existent norms of social welfare. This paper examines two sets of decision rules for planning - the economic benefit-cost analysis and the sociological conflict approach - and suggest a way toward a useful integration. Integration of the two approaches, from both a conceptual and practical perspective, can aid the decision-maker in selecting those alternatives that combine long-term policy considerations with short-run economic efficiency objectives. In particular, the concept of social cleavage is used to explain conflict over resource policy. The goal is to minimize the polarizing impact of cleavage - where no common values are shared between stakeholders - and take advantage of cross-cutting cleavages - where stakeholders may have share common values on some issues but not on others. By acting strategically managers can look for opportunities to use cross-cutting cleavages as a basis for compromise and negotiation. Public involvement at the program level, rather than the project level, will aid in managers in avoiding polarizing cleavages.

Peterson, G. L. 1974. "A comparison of the sentiments and perceptions of wilderness managers and canoeists in the boundary waters canoe area." Journal of Leisure Research 6(Summer): 194-206.

This study highlights an important aspect associated with conflict management: that recreation managers and recreational users may differ in their wilderness motivations, attitudes, preferences and perceptions. The study found statistical differences in the way managers and canoers viewed a whole host of issues including: motivations for recreation such as finding excitement, performance of management objectives such as cleanliness, desirability of conditions such as pristine nature or use of motors, appraisals of park conditions such as impacts from recreational use, pleasantness of activities such as having small children along, or general environmental disposition such as inclination to wilderness as a way of life. Mostly, this study highlights the danger of setting recreation management goals based on management understandings and values as they are unlikely to meet user expectations. The study also highlights the need for education and opportunities for exchange of information so that users gain an appreciation of the management perspective while managers have a chance to understand user perceptions and values.

Clark, R. N., J. C. Hendee and F. L. Campbell. 1971. "Values, behavior, and conflict in modern camping culture." Journal of Leisure Research 3: 143-159.

This study investigates the possible difference in values and behavior between campers and campground managers. It finds that managers and campers subscribe to similar goals associated with camping, but they disagree about the types of activities which are appropriate for attaining those goals. In particular, campers at developed campgrounds shared with managers values about camping in order have contact with the environment or seek isolation, but unlike managers they feel that these goals are attainable in developed campgrounds. Other differences between the two groups include views on the behaviors of other campers or illegal activity. Like other studies, the results of this study emphasize the importance of being clear about whose values or norms are being reflected in recreation management goal. Similarly, this study finds that campers are more tolerant of potentially conflict causing behaviors and managers need to consider how this type of finding should influence their recreation conflict management strategies.

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