Date of Award

1-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Advisor

Baldwin, Elizabeth

Committee Member

McGuire , Francis A

Committee Member

Schmalz , Dorothy L

Abstract

The National Park Service (NPS) has recognized a need to conduct outreach to people from communities that it recognizes as underserved. This paper offers an examination of outreach programs that were included in a 'best practices' database by the NPS. Primary data for this study came from interviews, recorded and transcribed, with two groups of experts: NPS employees who developed or conducted outreach programs and senior managers in the NPS. Unlike traditional park programming, outreach programs are designed with non-visitors in mind. Outreach programs are supported by different rationales, have different goals, employ different methods, and offer different challenges than traditional programming. The following five themes were developed from interview data: 1) The rationale for outreach is often based on a desire to create healthy participants, not just healthy parks; 2) The goal of outreach is to create a sense of community between park employees and people who have not traditionally used parks; 3) Outreach uses methods that provide opportunities for person-to-person instead of person-to-resource connections; 4) Outreach is challenging because it can be a risky, uncomfortable experience for those conducting it; and 5) The way that the national park idea manifests is transformed during the process of outreach. Outreach offers a subtle solution to the 'problem' of non-Anglo under participation.

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