Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Environment and Society

Committee Chair(s)

Chris Monz


Chris Monz


Wayne Friemund


Tal Avgar


A widespread surge in park and protected area (PPA) visitation strikes managers with the imminent challenge of preserving ecological conditions and maintaining accessibility in the open spaces that are a fundamental component to the health and wellness needs of society. In the field of recreation resource management, recreation specialization, the selective channeling of interests and abilities into a specific recreational activity, has contributed to comprehensive understandings of recreation behavior, site preference, management perceptions and conservation support. Contributing to historical understandings of specialization can inform recreation planning on the diversity of uses occurring in urban-proximate PPAs. Survey data providing information on various social dimensions, was used to classify recreationists into three distinct categories reflecting various types of specialization. This study seeks to understand the relationships occurring between the three specialization types and various behavioral characteristics and self-reported specialization. In addition, distinct differences in spatial behavior were examined between specialization types and spatio-temporal metrics calculated from GPS data. Additionally, resource selection function assisted in identifying specific patterns in spatial distribution across parks, activity types and specialization types. Understanding unique social and spatial differences between specialization types will broaden understandings of the contemporary manifestation of specialization in a diverse urban-proximate location, and will contribute a predictive managerial approach to historical knowledge to identify potential for resultant ecological disturbance caused by current and emerging activity types.