Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Environment and Society

Committee Chair(s)

Wayne Freimund


Wayne Freimund


Christopher Monz


Anna Miller


Zachary Miller


Ryan Knowles


Public land managers incorporate a variety of tools to manage visitors to Parks and Protected Areas (PPAs). The intention of these management actions is to mitigate visitor impacts on natural resources, and facilitate high quality visitor experiences by minimizing depreciative behavior or spreading out visitation to reduce congestion. Approaches such as interpretation and educational information which indirectly influence visitor behavior by encouraging people to participate in minimum impact behavior or to visit during a different time, are referred to as indirect management actions. Other approaches use enforcement or regulations to mandate changes in behavior, or direct management actions. While these educational and enforcement tools are not binary nor mutually exclusive, rather existing on a spectrum, researchers and managers often compare the efficacy of direct versus indirect management tools. Additionally, for decades the appropriate situations and potential impacts on visitor experience of these management tools have been examined. This dissertation assesses visitor experiences with one indirect management action, and one direct management action in the Moab, Utah region. The experiences of managers with management actions that influence visitor behavior and experience is also explored. In the first paper of this dissertation, I use a survey of visitors to Arches National Park to assess visitor experiences with a direct management action and predict support for an entrance reservation at Arches National Park. In the second paper I also use a visitor survey to understand the effectiveness of an indirect management action, a visitor education program at popular trailheads around Moab, Utah, to reduce visitor behavior that negatively impacts the biophysical resources and experience of other visitors. In the third paper, I assess how public land managers tasked with managing outdoor recreation in the Moab region make decisions regarding when to use direct or indirect management actions. Specifically, I look at the region as a system and illustrate how actions taken by different agencies interact with each other.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.