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Wade Vagias - Identifying and Testing Predictors of Compliance with Recommended LNT Practices

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Wade Vagias - Identifying and Testing Predictors of Compliance with Recommended Leave No Trace Practices
Exit Strategies Conference 2010
Sustainable Summits Initiative

Published in: Environment
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Wade Vagias - Identifying and Testing Predictors of Compliance with Recommended LNT Practices

  1. 1. National Park Service EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA National Park Service Why do they do what they do? Identifying and Testing Predictors of Compliance with Recommended Leave No Trace Practices Exit Strategies July 31st 2010 Wade Vagias, PhD Wilderness Stewardship Division National Park Service, Washington, DC
  2. 2. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Lead a horse to water… 2
  3. 3. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Research Purpose & Questions Project Purpose: To develop and pilot test a method for evaluating the effectiveness of the Leave No Trace outdoor skills and ethics visitor education program within a selection of NPS administered lands. Today’s Presentation: 1. Introduce the theoretical framework employed 2. What determines behavior (LNT Practices)? 3. Suggestions for management
  4. 4. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Theoretical Orientation 4 Modify Beliefs/attitudes Behavior Change Modify Knowledge Behavior Change “Learning leads to loving hypothesis”
  5. 5. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Theoretical Foundation Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) (Ajzen, 1991) A theory exploring the antecedents of human behavior Behavior ‘X’ Intention to do ‘X’ Attitude to do: behavior ‘X’ Normative influence to do behavior ‘X’ Perceived control to do behavior ‘X’
  6. 6. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Data Collection Methods  Systematically intercepted groups as they registered/picked-up backcountry camping permits: – Glacier National Park, MT  99% willing to participate  69% RR (N=279) – Olympic National Park, WA  96% willing to participate  74% RR (N=314)
  7. 7. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Demographics of the Samples GNP ONP Gender (male) 64% 60% Age (years) M = 36 (12.4) M = 42 (12.3) Education 91% college + 96% college + Experience Use History 1st visit? 76% 34% Years experience M = 14 (12.0) M = 22 (14.4) Trip Characterisitcs Group size M = 2.8 (1.3) M = 3.8 (2.7) Miles traveled M = 31.3 (19.8) M = 20.6 (14.4) SR Knowledge of LNT M = 4.26 (.8) M = 4.01 (.9) 7
  8. 8. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Awareness of Leave No Trace GNP  Mean year: 1996 (sd: 10.3) ONP  Mean year: 1992 (sd: 11.0) GNP No 6% Yes 94% Have you ever heard of Leave No Trace?GNP No 2% Yes 98%
  9. 9. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Measurement of Items/Questions Global Attitudes re: LNT 9 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 1 Strongly Disagree 2 3 4 Neutral 5 6 7 Strongly Agree Percentage Frequency It is important to use minimum-impact / LNT techniques when in the backcountry GNP ONP CINS
  10. 10. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Attitudes re: Waste Management Practices 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 1 Very Inappropriate 2 3 4 Neutral 5 6 7 Very Appropriate Percentage Burying used toilet paper GNP (M=4.17, SD=2.2) ONP (M=4.46, SD=2.1) CINS (M=4.75, SD=2.0) 10
  11. 11. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Data Analysis Strategy Tested the TPB using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) Advantages: 1. Address complex relationships 2. Multiple indicators per construct (increase validity) 3. Remove error & identify collinearity issues
  12. 12. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Nuances of Measurement (the weeds) 12 (Item) “Having a campfire” (Scale 1 to 7) Error (e) True score 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 1 Very Inappropriate 2 3 4 Neutral 5 6 7 Very Appropriate Percentage Burying used toilet paper GNP (M=4.17, SD=2.2) ONP (M=4.46, SD=2.1) CINS (M=4.75, SD=2.0)
  13. 13. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Nuances of Measurement (the weeds) 13 ‘Having a campfire’e ‘Cooking over a fire in the backcountry’ ‘Building a fire ring if one is not present’ ‘Leaving charred wood in the fire ring’ e e e Campfire Attitude
  14. 14. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA TPB: Complete Structural Model
  15. 15. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA TPB: Simplified Structural Model
  16. 16. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Results: Glacier National Park
  17. 17. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Results: Olympic National Park
  18. 18. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Summary  Leave No Trace: – Highly diffused (awareness) & – Highly regarded (global perception)  Simple awareness of the LNT Message does not necessarily equate to stronger/more congruent attitudes regarding promoted LNT practices – Widespread variability amongst visitors (specific attitudes)  Very definite drivers of behavior emerged… 18
  19. 19. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA How to change behavior(s)…  SEM: target both affective and cognitive structures – Demonstrate the ‘ease’ of complying with recommended practices – Affective: normative component, particularly those addressing proper handling of waste (attitude and/or difficulty) – Encourage groups to ‘police their own’ regarding ‘proper’ (or promoted) behaviors in the backcountry – Knowledge component – especially for less experienced visitors 19
  20. 20. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA  What are the problems on the ground at the park?  Education efforts should:  Context specific & multifaceted  Consider the theoretical frameworks (target salient belief structures)  Address both the ‘what’ of LNT as well as the ‘why’  ‘Ease’ of complying with recommended practices  Caution with older, more ‘experienced’ travelers  ‘I am good, I know what I am doing’ attitude present? (or)  Information saturation (need more in-depth information)  Ethics instillation/enhancement is a game of inches… – A multi-pronged diffusion strategy appears most successful (props to Glacier National Park) Advice for Management… 20
  21. 21. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Dissemination of Results © Wade Vagias 2007 Preliminary Evaluation of Recreational Skills and Ethics Training Programs Occurring on Public Lands: The Leave No Trace Visitor Education Program Robert B. Powell, Ph.D. Brett A. Wright, Ph.D. Wade M. Vagias Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Clemson University June 4, 2008 21 Presentations: – ISSRM ’07 & ‘08 – Society for Conservation Biology ’08 – George Wright Society ‘09 – World Wilderness Congress ’09 Publications / Manuscripts: – NPS Technical Report – LNT Attitudes (in-press) Int. Journal of Wilderness – LNT Attitudes Inventory & Measure (submitted) Journal of Leisure Research – SEM of TPB (in-draft) Society and Natural Resources – Diffusion & Perceived Efficacy of LNT (submitted) Journal of Sustainable Tourism

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