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Title: The effect of human-caused visual impacts on restorative character of an arid wildland recreation setting

Author: Christensen, Thore Baird;

Date: 2009

Source: Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah. p. 178. Thesis.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of visible visitor-caused impacts as characterized by user-created campsites on judgments about the perceived restorative character in natural areas. User-created campsites were inventoried using mapping-grade mobile Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology and photography. Photography of user-created campsites was accomplished by collecting high-resolution spherical panoramic imagery at select user-created campsites. Collected data were postprocessed and added to a GIS. This technique not only overcomes the challenge of locating and approaching potential research subjects in the field, but also enables the researcher a potentially broader public sampling by affording the ability to engineer and represent field conditions with computer simulation. Research participants were obtained through undergraduate and graduate classes in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, the Department of Geography at the University of Utah, and employees of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service. Photo elicitation was used for data collection. Each participant (n=60) viewed 360-degree panoramic imagery of user-created campsites exhibiting different degrees of visible visitor-caused impact (n=5). While viewing the image set, participants completed the Perceived Restorative Scale. Resulting data were analyzed using linear modeling techniques. Results supported the hypothesis that perceived restorativeness declines with increased landscape scarring. Results of this study can assist land managers who set Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) on public lands.

Keywords: visitor-caused impacts, public lands, natural areas, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC)

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Christensen, Thore Baird. 2009. The effect of human-caused visual impacts on restorative character of an arid wildland recreation setting. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah. p. 178. Thesis.


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