Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Environment and Society

Committee Chair(s)

Claudia Radel


Claudia Radel


Joanna Endter-Wada


Steve Burr


Ann Laudati


As the Hispanic/Latino population grows in the United States, increased attention is being given to how and why Hispanic/Latino recreation differs from Anglo recreation. Concerns over equal access to natural resources and recreation have led researchers to question the causes for the differences in recreation choices. The discussion has largely focused on the restrictive effects of ethnicity and the marginal position of minorities in society creating recreation patterns in which minorities are practically nonexistent in wildland recreation areas. Stepping away from the negative valuation about dissimilarities in Hispanic/Latino versus Anglo recreation, this study of Hispanics/Latinos in Cache Valley, Utah focuses on recreation as defined by participants, recreation sites both visited and not visited, and the decision drivers participants identify as most influential. Through the use of a participant mapping activity, this study first identifies patterns in types of sites visited and not visited by participants. Using exploratory, semi-structured interviews, this study also uncovers the participants’ definitions of recreation as well as important elements driving their recreation choices, including desired and undesired sites for recreation. Municipal recreation sites are visited most commonly by participants and the major drivers attracting their visitation are the physical site characteristics comprised of proximity to their residences, available facilities, suitability for family outings, scenery, a feeling of seclusion or relaxation, and activities specific to the site. Sites not visited span the categories of municipal, federal, state, and private. Federal sites are the most commonly desired and undesired types of sites not visited by participants. Non-visitation of sites was found to largely be the result of marginality characteristics such as a lack of money, time, knowledge, language, and fear. Ethnicity and custom also proved to be influential drivers of recreation decisions through elements like language and participant conceptualization of recreation as seeking spaces in which to gather with others. This study concludes that customs and powers of access (as related to ethnicity and marginality) intermingle to influence recreation choices among Hispanic/Latino participants. Looking at Hispanic/Latino recreation beyond its comparative Anglo differences provides a necessary holistic understanding of the elements driving this ethnic group’s decisions. As this understanding increases, work can be done to ensure equality in access to resources like recreation as desired by the minority population.




This work made publicly available electronically on September 1, 2011.

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