Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Sociology and Anthropology

Department name when degree awarded


Committee Chair(s)

Wade H. Andrews


Wade H. Andrews


Yun Kim


H. Bruce Bylund


Wesley T. Maughan


Jay Skidmore


Several problems have arisen in recent years as the Bear Lake area of Utah and Idaho has rapidly changed from an agricultural center to a recreation center. Some of these problems have included increased pollution of the lake, rising taxes, damages through fluctuations in the level of the lake and increased crime and traffic problems.

To test the assumptions and theoretical framework of this study, five hypotheses and three sub-hypotheses were formulated. Basically, these hypotheses stated that changing land and water uses; (1) disrupt the status quo of existing social systems and that incompatible values held by different vested interest groups associated with these resources will serve as a potential source of conflict; and (2) will result in a change in the community power structure, i.e., the local community power structure will change from a monistic to a pluralistic power structure.

To test the hypotheses all elected or appointed community leaders living within six miles of Bear Lake were personally interviewed and a mailed questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 462 owners of property within six miles of Bear Lake.

Property owners were identified as belonging to three different vested interest groups; (1) full and part-time farmers living within six miles of the lake year round; (2) non-farmers living within six miles of the lake year round; and (3) owners of property within six miles of the lake who have permanent residence out of the Bear Lake area (absentee property owners). These three groups were found to have several values that are considered to be incompatible and which could serve as potential sources of conflict. In particular, the local farmers, as well as the local non-farmers, prefer seeing the Bear Lake area remain relatively undeveloped, whereas the absentee property owners feel less strongly about seeing additional recreational development, and many indicate having plans to build a recreational home in the Bear Lake area.

The Utah area around the lake which has undergone more recreational development than has the Idaho side of the lake, was found to have a more pluralistic community power structure than was found in the Idaho communities near the lake.



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