Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Natural Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Outdoor Recreation

Committee Chair(s)

Richard M. Schreyer


Richard M. Schreyer


Doug Bock


Kent Downing


The demand for recreation on public lands has been growing steadily, resulting in undesirable impacts on certain resources as well as recreation experiences. The problem addressed by this research is the uneven distribution of recreational use that causes a concentration of impacts. This thesis describes the development and testing of a method to reduce the uneven/concentrated recreation use occurring on the public lands.

The basic objectives of the study were to determine the effectiveness of redistributing recreationists by the use of photographs and a decisional process using photographic information and to identify its potential as a tool in meeting management objectives.

The experimental treatment device was the Visual Decision Making Process consisting of color photographs, a map and a selection matrix used in the decision-tree to match people to places that would best suit their needs.

Recreationists were surveyed on three different weekends during the spring season of 1980 in the San Rafael Swell of southeastern Utah. People who had been contacted during that time were randomly assigned to treatment or no-treatment control groups. A home interview was conducted prior to the 1981 spring recreation season. After the season, both the treatment and no-treatment control groups were contacted for posttest questioning. Data were collected from the contact questioning, observation, and posttest questionnaires.

The results indicated that recreation use was influenced by the Visual Decision Making Process, but only a small percentage of people who went through the process went to an area they chose. While the major influence of the process was not significantly proven, there seemed to be a trend in change behavior. This small percentage of change may be an adequate amount to meet management objectives of lessening impacts.

It was also found that persons driving four-wheel drive vehicles and larger groups were significantly more influenced to redistribute than car/pickup drivers and smaller groups.

Recommendations are made for management practices to reduce uneven/ concentrated recreation use and suggestions for further research are offered.