Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environment and Society

Committee Chair(s)

Christopher Monz


Christopher Monz


Anna Miller


Ashley D'Antonio


Jordan Smith


In Rocky Mountain National Park, managers are concerned about informal trails resulting from off-trail travel in popular backcountry areas. The distribution of informal trails near water bodies raised questions for park managers about the potential impacts of different visitor activities, specifically hiking and angling use. This report examined the spatial behavior of hikers and anglers using GPS tracking and explored hiker experience preferences in relation to their spatial behavior. Anglers on average traveled farther and spent more time during their trip than hikers. Across all study locations, there was no difference in the amount of off-trail travel between hikers and anglers, however one location saw marked differences. Hikers with experiences preferences related to viewing scenic beauty and having an adventure were more likely to travel farther on trails whereas hikers with more varied experience preferences stayed closer to trailheads. With increasing park visitation likely bringing more diverse visitors, park managers need more resources to devote to exploring more diverse management actions.

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Tourism Commons