Date of Award:

8-2020

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Environment and Society

Committee Chair(s)

Christopher A. Monz

Committee

Christopher A. Monz

Committee

Jordan W. Smith

Committee

Ashley L. D’Antonio

Abstract

Smartphone based self-tracking fitness applications (apps) like Strava are increasingly becoming a part of recreation experiences in parks and protected areas (PPAs). Recreation research has employed smartphone GPS tracking (SGT) and volunteered geographic information (VGI) to study visitor behavior in PPAs, but little is understood about how smartphones or fitness apps affect visitor perceptions and behavior during their experience.

The first chapter of this thesis is a literature review of recreation survey and behavior research, social-psychology and technology use theory, gamification, and mountain bike social science and recreation-ecology research. The second chapter is formatted for submission to the Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism and presents results from a survey and global positioning system (GPS) tracking study of visitors to PPAs in Orange County, CA to explore the effect of Strava use on visitors’ evaluations of trail, management, and social conditions, ecological knowledge and perceptions of ecological impacts of recreation and differences in spatial behavior of mountain bikers who use Strava and those who do not.

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