The Relationship Between Past Experience and Multiple-use Trail Conflict

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Title: The Relationship Between Past Experience and Multiple-use Trail Conflict
Author: Bradsher, Debra J
Advisors: Dr. Roger L. Moore, Committee Chair
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to test the relationship between past experience in several trail activities and conflict due to encounters with trail users engaged in those activities. This research question involved the following trail activity groups: runners, walkers or hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and users with dogs. Data were collected through on-site interviews with 421 trail users in the Greater Snow King Area of the Bridger-Teton National Forest near Jackson, Wyoming from July 17 to August 11, 2002. Conflict was assessed by asking participants to rate their increased/decreased enjoyment due to encounters with each of the other user groups. Past experience in an activity was determined by whether a participant had ever participated in that activity on any trail. In tests of the relationship between past experience in an activity and conflict due to encounters with participants of that activity, results indicated that two were statistically significant at the .05 level (running and walking dogs). Trail users who had participated in the activity in the past experienced less conflict when encountering that group than did respondents who had never done the activity before. Likewise, those who had participated in an activity in the past were more likely to experience increased enjoyment due to encounters with that group than were trail users who had never done the activity before. This pattern held for running, mountain biking, horseback riding, and dog walking although it was not significant at the .05 level in the cases of mountain biking and horseback riding. The relationship between past experience walking or hiking and conflict due to walkers or hikers could not be tested because only two respondents indicated that they had never walked or hiked on a trail. Trail users with past experience in an activity may have experienced less conflict when encountering that group because they better understood the requirements of the activity or because they saw the other users as having lifestyles, values, and/or attitudes similar to their own. Findings suggest that efforts to promote tolerance for other user groups may reduce the occurrence of conflict among trail users. Other implications for management and further research are discussed.
Date: 2003-06-10
Degree: MS
Discipline: Natural Resources
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1459


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