Recreation Conflict - Overview
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Cordell, H. K. and M. A. Tarrant. 2002. Socio-6: Forest-based outdoor recreation. Retrieved October 4th, 2005. Web link.

Within this larger review of forest-based recreation in the Southern United States, the authors conduct a brief review of the recreation conflict literature. The authors find a general increase in recreation-based conflict due general rising demand and increase in technology-driven activities. For managers, early detection of user conflicts and effective conflict resolution depend on understanding where and how conflicts arise. Resolving conflict at its initial stages can help avoid costly political and legal actions. Two primary conceptual models are seen as helping managers understand recreation conflict: the cognitive (goal interference) and normative models (social values).

Shultis, J. 2001. "Consuming nature: The uneasy relationship between technology, outdoor recreation and protected areas." The George Wright Forum 18(1): 56-66.

This paper reviews the impact of technology on recreation management and the role that technological change has had on parks and recreation experiences. Empirical evidence from other studies suggest that increasing use of technology in outdoor recreation will have result in a lessened emotional attachment to the land, which will in turn decrease long-term commitment to conservation. The author argues that recreationists, managers and the general public will continue to have conflicting views on how technology should be managed in parks. Without a more of a battle from groups concerned about the impact on technological in parks and its links to a conservation ethic, managers will struggle to keep new technologies from having a impact on recreation experiences.

Watson, A. E. 2001. "Goal interference and social value differences: understanding wilderness conflicts and implications for managing social density." USDA Forest Service Proceedings RMRS-P 20: 62-67.

This paper presents a review of the recreation conflict literature with a particular emphasis on managing recreation use densities in the wilderness. It reviews the history of recreation conflict research and highlights the time periods when various concepts were introduced into the literature. The most popular theory of recreation conflict, the goal interference model, is identified as having evolved from expectancy-valence theory. The more important a goal is to a person the more likely that failing to achieve this goal will result in conflict. It is interpersonal conflict if the visitor can attribute this loss of their goal to the behavior of someone else, rather than to other factors such as the weather or illness. Incompatibility of goals is not a requirement of conflict as some conflict can occur when people with similar goals, such as finding solitude in the wilderness, conflict with each others desire to achieve that goal. In the goal interference literature, recreation conflict is hypothesized to be at least partially fueled by perceived differences in four ways to describe recreation visitor groups: activity style, resource specificity, mode of experience, and tolerance of lifestyle diversity. More recently, researchers have identified social values as an important conflict mechanism. This type of conflict often occurs not in the wilderness, but in the policy arena in disputes over the allocation of wilderness resources. This paper also reviews different methods for measuring conflict. The authors conclude that approaching social density from a conflict perspective suggests: 1) a need to understand the orientations people have towards a place of interest in terms of values, meanings, expectations, and importance of the place itself; and 2) how does interacting with various number and types of people interact with these orientations, not simply from a single dimensional crowding measure, but based on mix of human and ecological values.

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.

Schneider, I. 2000. "Revisiting and revising recreation conflict research." Journal of Leisure Research 32(1): 129-132.

This commentary reviews the state of recreation conflict research. It concludes that there is much work left to be done to reveal the essence of conflict in recreation. Conceptually, recreation conflict is constrained because it remains uncertain and insufficiently modeled. Methodologically, a quantitative bias, lack of emic knowledge and an outdoor focus have impeded the advance of recreation conflict research. Areas where the foci of conflict research could be expanded to include indoor recreation, personal characteristics of an individual including race, gender and sexual orientation, and conflict within and among recreation organizations.

Manning, R. E. 1999. "Recreation conflict: Goal interference." In Studies in Outdoor Recreation: Search and Research for Satisfaction, Second Edition, 194-206. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press.

This chapter explores the topic of recreation conflict. It focuses particularly on the goal interference model of recreation conflict that was developed by Jacob and Schreyer (1980) and presents an expanded conflict model. Within the expanded conflict model the four variables postulated by Jacob and Schreyer remain (activity style, resource specificity, mode of experience and lifestyle tolerance), but these are seen as simply setting the preconditions for conflict. These variable, when interpreted broadly, account for all the variables found to statistically related to conflict. However, the variables simply determine the sensitivity to conflict and other catalyzing factors or stimuli are need to actually create conflict. These catalyzing factors may be of the interpersonal nature or the result of different social values. Conflict can occur in a number of ways: between different recreation types, between people engaged in the same activity, between users and managers, and with other users of the land or water resources. Whether conflict leads to diminished satisfaction is largely dependent on whether the users engage in coping behaviors.

Watson, A. 1995. "An analysis of recent progress in recreation conflict research and perceptions of future challenges and opportunities." Leisure Sciences 17(3): 235-238.

This paper reviews the progress in the field of recreation conflict research with particular reference to a special section of Leisure Sciences. There has never been agreement on how recreation conflict should be measured. While Jacob and Schreyer conflict model received significant testing and modification, more recent work proposed other models. A distinction for some authors exist between interpersonal versus values conflicts. Other authors have suggested that the goal-interference measure of conflict needs to be separated into that associated with the setting and that associated with activity. New theoretical approaches are also emerging, with conflict being seen less as a single event and more as a process. For example, a model adopted from stress theory is proposed by some authors which focuses on elements and factors that influence response to experiencing conflict. At the time of writing this article, the author sees increased research focus on recreation conflict. Encouragingly, however, the research and proposed management actions are not focused on eliminating conflict, but on understanding and mitigating it.

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.

Crawford, D. W., E. L. Jackson and G. Godbey. 1991. "A hierarchical model of leisure constraints." Leisure Sciences 13(4): 309-320.

This paper presents a "nested" model of leisure constraints. The model is designed specifically for explaining choices to or not to participate in recreation, but also to help explain further decision such as frequency of participation, level of specialization, level of ego involvement, and even his or her definition of the situation. Some models of recreation conflict have a structure similar to this model and include many of the same dimensions. This model proposes that leisure preferences are formed are based on an absence of or confrontation of the effects of intrapersonal constraints, which involve psychological states and attributes such as stress or perceived self-skill. Next, depending on the type of activity, interpersonal constraints, such as finding a suitable partner with which to engage in the activity, need to be overcome. Finally, structural constraints, such as family financial resources, climate or work schedule, need to be overcome before a person will participate in an activity.

Owens, P. L. 1985. "Conflict as a social interaction process in environment and behavior research: The example of leisure and recreational research." Journal of Environmental Psychology 5: 243-259.

This paper reviews the development of social and psychological conflict as theoretical construct that is distinct from crowding. The paper reviews much of the past crowding and "conflict" research and concludes its applied aims have been too descriptive. Conflict is defined within the environment and behavior perspective as both a process of social interaction and, more importantly, conflict is a negative experience occurring when competition for shared resources prevents expected benefits of participation from accruing to an individual or group. Crowding is seen as a more transient, simply on the day of activity, social process, while conflict is conceptualized as an experience which is persistent over time. This model of conflict is based on concept of recreation as a social and psychological experience derived by goal-orientated behavior, but the model is held up as an alternative to the goal interference model of Jacob and Schreyer which became so popular.

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."

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