Title: Diverse users of four urban national forests: participation, preferences, and perceptions
Author: Chavez, Deborah J.; Olson, David D.
Source: In: Chavez, Deborah J.; Winter, Patricia L.; Absher, James D., eds. Recreation visitor research: studies of diversity. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-210. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 63-74. Chapter 6
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Description: Diversity at outdoor recreation sites, particularly those near large and diverse urban populations, is occurring across the United States. It is likely that individuals who belong to these changing groups bring a set of values and behaviors to public lands that differ from that of White visitors, and perhaps, land managers. Reported here are findings from studies conducted on four national forests in southern California. We examined the participation, preferences, and perceptions of diverse recreation visitors, focusing on Latinos. Studies like the ones reported here provide land managers insights to better serve this important group. Percentage of Latinos at the areas included in this article ranged from 24 percent (Palomar Mountain on the Cleveland National Forest) to 78 percent (Applewhite on the San Bernardino National Forest).
At all four areas, picnic/barbecues and stream playing were among the activities usually engaged in. Activities usually engaged in at the areas were development dependent (picnicking/barbecuing, camping, and off-highway vehicle riding), natural area dependent (watching wildlife and driving for pleasure), or water dependent (stream play and fishing).
When communicating with diverse groups, managers should consider whether this information is provided before people get to the area or after they arrive. Offsite communications were primarily word of mouth (family and friends) and would be challenging for land managers to tap into. Onsite communications are less problematic and fit the traditional methods available—brochure at the area entrance, signs along the road, and notes on a bulletin board. The desired pertinent information to share with visitors onsite differed by area suggesting managers will need input from their visitors to provide for visitor needs.
Visitors rated several facilities and amenities as important or very important. Trash cans and water faucets were common responses to all the areas studied, but other facilities and amenities were site specific.
These studies also indicate that Latino and other urban national forest visitors to these areas were bothered by litter along the road and at picnic sites, graffiti on natural and on human-made surfaces, and tree carving. These findings suggest area managers should focus on keeping sites free of litter and graffiti.
Visitors at all four of these urban national forest areas said they wanted to return to the area again, thought it was well worth the money expended to take the trip, and said they had a great recreation experience. These data suggest that Latino and other visitors are likely to continue to recreate in these places and will tell others about them.
Keywords: Latinos, outdoor recreation, participation, perceptions, preferences
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Chavez, Deborah J.; Olson, David D. 2008. Diverse users of four urban national forests: participation, preferences, and perceptions. In: Chavez, Deborah J.; Winter, Patricia L.; Absher, James D., eds. Recreation visitor research: studies of diversity. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-210. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 63-74. Chapter 6.
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