Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

Powell, Robert B

Committee Member

Mainella , Fran P

Committee Member

Moore , DeWayne D

Committee Member

Norman , William C

Committee Member

Wright , Brett A


The purpose of this dissertation was to examine overnight National Park Service (NPS) backcountry visitors' behavioral intentions to comply with promoted LNT principles as well as their opinions regarding the efficacy of various LNT education delivery strategies. Leave No Trace is the most pervasive outdoor skills and ethics training program addressing human powered recreationists in existence however, empirical investigations into the efficacy and diffusion of the program have been scant to nonexistent.
The study sample was obtained by intercepting visitors at backcountry permit issuing stations in Glacier National Park (GNP) in northwest Montana and Olympic National Park (ONP) in northwest Washington during the summer 2007. Primary study data were collected following a modified Dillman (2007) procedure using mail-back self-administered questionnaire with multiple contacts to increase the response rate. 836 valid addresses were collected and 593 questionnaires were returned providing an overall response rate of 70.9%.
The first manuscript discusses the conceptual foundation, development, cross-validation, and psychometric qualities of the Backcountry Visitor Ethics Scale - Version 1 (BCVES-V1), a research instrument designed to measure attitudinal conformity with the LNT principles for responsible recreation. The resulting measurement model, a second-order three-construct 15-item scale, exhibited satisfactory fit properties across both samples and is largely consistent with the conceptual framework used to develop the measure. The second manuscript utilized an extended version of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TBP) to gauge the theory's effectiveness in predicting behavioral intentions to comply with LNT principles. The resultant model explained as much as 44.3% of the variance in intentions to comply with promoted practices; however, significant predictors of intentions vary by unit. The third manuscript discusses the diffusion and perceived effectiveness of the LNT visitor education program through the lens of Rogers Diffusion of Innovations Theory (Rogers, 2003). Results indicate the vast majority of respondents were aware and supportive of the LNT program, and highlight the role of both family-friends as well as the NPS for diffusing the LNT message amongst recreationists. T-test analyses indicate marginal effectiveness of four primary dissemination strategies on self-reported knowledge of LNT principles; however, effectiveness varies widely by unit.



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