Environmental Management

, Volume 47, Issue 5, pp 814–827 | Cite as

Perceptions of Community Benefits from Two Wild and Scenic Rivers

  • Jordan W. SmithEmail author
  • Roger L. Moore


Wild and Scenic Rivers provide a host of psychological, social, ecological, and economic benefits to local communities. In this study, we use data collected from recreational users of two Wild and Scenic Rivers to examine perceptions of the benefits provided by the rivers to local communities. Our purposes are (1) to determine if similar perceptions of community benefits exist across the two rivers, (2) to determine if individuals’ proximity to the rivers are related to the benefits they perceive, (3) to determine if individuals’ prior recreation experience on the river is related to variations in perceived benefits, (4) to determine if users’ sociodemographic characteristics are related to perceived community benefits, and (5) to determine if the influence of these characteristics on perceived community benefits is similar across the two resource areas. Perceived benefits were found to be analogous across both rivers as individuals consistently ranked ecological/affective benefits as well as tangible benefits similarly. Recreationists living further from the river ranked ecological and affective benefits as significantly less important than those individuals living closer to the river. Women perceived the community benefits produced by the resource areas to be significantly more important when compared to men. Significant relationships were also found between perceived benefits and recreationists’ previous use of the river, their age, and their level of education. With the exception of resource proximity and prior use history, the effects of user characteristics on perceived community benefits were not statistically different across the two rivers. These findings imply similar patterns of perceived community benefits exist across distinct resource areas and that the relationships between user characteristics and perceived benefits are also similar across the study rivers.


Wild and scenic rivers Community benefits Local/non-local Outcomes-focused management 



This research was funded by the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program of the National Park Service.


  1. Allen LR (1991) Benefits of leisure service to community satisfaction. In: Driver BL, Brown PJ, Peterson GL (eds) Benefits of leisure. Venture, State College, PA, pp 331–350Google Scholar
  2. Anderson DH, Davenport MA, Leahy JE, Stein TV (2008a) OFM and local community benefits. In: Driver BL (ed) Managing to optimize the beneficial outcomes of recreation. Venture, State College, PA, pp 311–334Google Scholar
  3. Anderson DH, Wilhem Stanis SA, Schneider IE, Leahy JE (2008b) Proximate and distant visitors: differences in importance ratings of beneficial experiences. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 26(4):47–65Google Scholar
  4. Bruns D, Driver BL, Lee ME, Anderson DH, Brown PJ (1994) Pilot test for implementing benefits-based management. In: Paper presented at the fifth international symposium on society and resource management, June 7–10, Fort Collins, COGoogle Scholar
  5. Campbell A (1981) The sense of well-being in America: recent patterns and trends. McGraw Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Cramer LA, Kennedy JJ, Krannich RS, Quigley TM (1993) Changing Forest Service values and their implications for land management decisions affecting resource-dependent communities. Rural Sociology 58(3):475–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Daniels SE, Cheng AS (2004) Collaborative resource management. In: Manfredo MJ, Vaske JJ, Bruyere BL, Field DR, Brown PJ (eds) Society and natural resources: a summary of knowledge. Litho Press, Jefferson, MO, pp 127–136Google Scholar
  8. Davenport MA, Anderson DH (2005) Getting from sense of place to place-based management: an interpretive investigation of place meanings and perceptions of landscape change. Society & Natural Resources 18(7):625–641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dillman DA (2000) Mail and internet surveys: the tailored design method, 2nd edn. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Drenthen MAM (2009) Ecological restoration and place attachment: emplacing non-places? Environmental Values 18:285–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Driver BL (2008a) What is outcomes-focused management? In: Driver BL (ed) Managing to optimize the beneficial outcomes of recreation. Venture, State College, PA, pp 19–38Google Scholar
  12. Driver BL (2008b) Why outcomes-focused management is needed. In: Driver BL (ed) Managing to optimize the beneficial outcomes of recreation. Venture, State College, PA, pp 1–18Google Scholar
  13. Driver BL, Brown PJ, Peterson GL (eds) (1991) Benefits of leisure. Venture, State College, PAGoogle Scholar
  14. Dunlap RE, van Liere KD, Mertig AG, Jones RE (2000) Measuring endorsement of the new ecological paradigm: a revised NEP scale. Journal of Social Issues 56(3):425–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Eder J (2005) Coastal resource management and social differences in Philippine fishing communities. Human Ecology: An Interdisciplinary Journal 33(2):147–169Google Scholar
  16. Federal Land Policy and Management Act (1976) Pub. L. No. 94-579Google Scholar
  17. Federal Water Project Recreation Act (1965) Pub. L. No. 89-72Google Scholar
  18. Gelissen J (2007) Explaining popular support for environmental protection: a multilevel analysis of 50 nations. Environment and Behavior 39(3):392–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Glover TD, Stewart WP, Gladdys K (2008) Social ethics of landscape change: toward community-based land-use planning. Qualitative Inquiry 14(3):384–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Graefe A, Moore RL (1992) Monitoring the visitor experience at Buck Island Reef National Monument. In: Proceedings of the 1991 northeastern recreation research symposium, USDA Forest Service General Technical Report NE-160, pp 55–58Google Scholar
  21. Hammitt WE, Backlund EA, Bixler RD (2004) Experience use history, place bonding and resource substitution of trout anglers during recreation engagements. Journal of Leisure Research 36(3):356–378Google Scholar
  22. Hardin JW, Hilbe JM (2003) Generalized estimating equations. Chapman & Hall/CRC, Boca Raton, FLGoogle Scholar
  23. Harper JL, Neider D, Godbey G, Lamont D (1997) The use and benefits of local government parks recreation services: a Canadian perspective. Health, Leisure, and Human Dimensions Research Institute, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  24. Hjerpe EE, Kim Y (2007) Regional economic impacts of Grand Canyon river runners. Journal of Environmental Management 85(1):137–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hunter LM, Hatch A, Johnson A (2004) Cross-national gender variation in environmental behaviors. Social Science Quarterly 85:677–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Keith J, Jakus P, Larsen J, Burr S, Reiter D, Zeitlin J (2008) Impacts of wild and scenic river designation: a report for the Utah Governor’s public lands office. Department of Economics Utah State University, Logan UTGoogle Scholar
  27. Larson KL, Santelmann MV (2007) An analysis of the relationship between residents’ proximity to water and attitudes about resource protection. Professional Geographer 59(3):316–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Leahy JE (2005) US Army Corps of Engineers and Kaskaskia River Watershed community relationships: social capital, trust, and benefits. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of MinnesotaGoogle Scholar
  29. Lemelin RH (2009) Doubting Thomases and the cougar: the perceptions of puma management in Northern Ontario, Canada. Sociologia Ruralis 49(1):56–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Levine MS (1977) Canonical analysis and factor comparison. Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences. Sage, Newbury Park, CAGoogle Scholar
  31. Marans R, Mohai P (1991) Leisure resources, recreation activity, and the quality of life. In: Driver BL, Brown P, Peterson G (eds) Benefits of leisure. Venture, State College, PA, pp 351–363Google Scholar
  32. Moore RL, Driver BL (2005) Evolution of science-based management of outdoor recreation resources. In: Moore RL, Driver BL (eds) Introduction to outdoor recreation: providing and managing natural resource based opportunities. Venture, State College, PA, pp 155–184Google Scholar
  33. Moore RL, Siderelis C (2003a) Use and economic importance of the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River. American Rivers, Inc., Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  34. Moore RL, Siderelis C (2003b) Use and economic importance of the West Branch of the Farmington River. American Rivers, Inc., Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  35. National Forest Management Act (1976) 16 U.S.C.A. §§ 1600–1614Google Scholar
  36. National Park Service Organic Act (1916) 16 U.S.C. §§ 1–4Google Scholar
  37. National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act (1997) Pub. L. No. 105-57Google Scholar
  38. Palmer T (1993) The wild and scenic rivers of America. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  39. Passante J (2001) Farmington river hatches. Fly Fisherman 22(5): 48–51, 60–62Google Scholar
  40. Perez-Verdin G, Lee M, Chavez D (2004) Outdoor recreation in a protected area in Southern Durango, Mexico: Analysis of local residents’ perceptions. Society and Natural Resources 17:897–910CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rummel RJ (1970) Applied factor analysis, 2nd edn. Northwestern University Press, Evanston ILGoogle Scholar
  42. Stein TV, Anderson DH (2002) Combining benefits-based management with ecosystem management for landscape planning: Leech Lake watershed, Minnesota. Landscape and Urban Planning 60:151–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Stein TV, Lee ME (1995) Managing recreation resources for positive outcomes: an application of benefits-based management. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 13:52–70Google Scholar
  44. Stein TV, Anderson DH, Thompson D (1999) Identifying and managing for community benefits in Minnesota state parks. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 17(4):1–19Google Scholar
  45. Stem CJ, Lassoie JP, Lee DR, Deshler DD, Schelhas JW (2004) Community participation in ecotourism benefits: The link to conservation practices and perspectives. Society and Natural Resources 16:387–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. White DD, Virden RJ, van Riper CJ (2008) Effects of place identity, place dependence, and experience-use history on perceptions of recreation impacts in a natural setting. Environmental Management 42(4):647–657CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (1968) Public Law 90-541Google Scholar
  48. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act—Amendments (1974) Public Law 93-279Google Scholar
  49. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act—Amendments (1994) Public Law 103-242Google Scholar
  50. Williams DR, Stewart SI (1998) Sense of place: An elusive concept that is finding a home in ecosystem management. J For 96:18–23Google Scholar
  51. Wrigley C, Neuhaus J (1955) The matching of two sets of factors. Am Psychol 10:418–419Google Scholar
  52. Zelezny LC, Chua P-P, Aldrich C (2000) Elaborating on gender differences in environmentalism. Journal of Social Issues 56:443–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Natural ResourcesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

Personalised recommendations