Date of Award

8-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Advisor

Hallo, Jeffrey C

Committee Member

McGuire , Francis

Committee Member

Hammitt , William E

Abstract

Recreation that involves learning, viewing, observing, studying, identifying, or photographing nature (e.g., birds, plants, or wildlife) may be termed appreciative recreation. As appreciative wildland recreation participation continues to increase, an understanding of the development of on-site experiences for recreationists will be important for helping managers meet visitor needs, meet objectives for education during experiences, and managing social and ecological impacts related to the activity. The purpose of this study is to investigate the developmental nature of appreciative recreation experiences. Clawson and Knetsch (1966) are typically cited as the first researchers to identify that an outdoor recreation experience has multiple phases and changes over the course of an experience. Specifically, this study investigates the on-site phase of an appreciative recreation experience and seeks to determine the effects of time spent in the natural environment. The intent is to measure how time influences the appreciative qualities (environmental focus) of those who are participating in this form of recreation. Data were collected at Congaree National Park, where appreciative recreation opportunities are abundant. A version of the experiential sampling method (ESM) was used to measure dependent variables a number of times during a recreationist's experience. A sample of 158 visitors each completed 4 experience sampling forms. Data were then subjected to confirmatory factor analysis and multi-level modeling analysis. It was found that time does have a significant influence on the development of an appreciative recreation experience. Finally, it was found that there are three phases of an on-site, appreciative recreation experience (preparation, immersion, and separation).

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