Date of Award

12-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management (MPRTM)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Advisor

Powell, Robert B

Committee Member

Stern , Marc J

Committee Member

Hallo , Jeffrey C

Abstract

Since its inception, interpretation in parks and protected areas has been used to achieve a variety of desired visitor outcomes, including enhanced satisfaction, visitor experience, and behavioral change. A large body of literature has been developed regarding effective techniques and desirable styles for conducting interpretive programs. However, despite the amount of this literature, as interpretation progresses into the 21st century, a gap has been identified between empirical support for interpretation's “ best practices ” and their links to desired outcomes. This study aims to isolate those practices that are necessary for producing desired outcomes in national park visitors. National Park Service interpretive programs offered over the summer of 2011 are the unit of analysis and setting for this study. Quantitative analysis of these programs was employed to understand visitor reactions to various types and styles of program presentation. This was achieved using visitor surveys and researcher observations. Results led to a better understanding of specific best practices that lead to desired outcomes. Additionally, results may advance stewardship and support for individual parks and the National Park Service as a whole.

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