Date of Award:

2014

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Environment and Society

Advisor/Chair:

Robyn Ceurvorst

Abstract

In August of 2012, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to designate the Greater Canyonlands National Monument (GCNM). The proposed 1.4 million acre national monument would surround the already present 337,570 acre Canyonlands National Park, and would include public lands/waterways from five Utah counties. The OIA’s goal for the GCNM is to preserve the landscape for quality outdoor recreation by decreasing the amount of off-highway vehicle use and to eliminate the possibility of oil/gas drilling and mining. Given the proposal highlights outdoor recreation use benefits as the main catalyst for justification of additional conservation/protection of lands surrounding Canyonlands National Park, this study surveyed recreationists in the Indian Creek Corridor—an area within the boundaries of the proposed GCNM—to explore their attitudes toward the GCNM and the management of the area. This study examined how environmental orientation, place dependence, place identity, residential proximity, and recreational activity type related to attitudes toward the GCNM. Environmental orientation and residential proximity were both good predictors of attitudes toward the GCNM and the management of the Greater Canyonlands area. More biocentric-oriented people, and people who lived farther away from the Greater Canyonlands area, were more likely to have favorable attitudes toward the GCNM and were more opposed to land uses such as mining and energy development. In addition, visitors were largely “unsure” if the GCNM should be designated. Visitors felt most strongly that if the GCNM is going to be designated, the process of designation, the land that would be included, and management of the GCNM should be agreed upon by stakeholders before the monument is designated. This suggests a quick designation via public proclamation under the Antiquities Act of 1906 could largely exacerbate the already present conflict over public land management in the region, which would create an even more difficult environment for federal land managers.

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