Environmental Management

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 542–554 | Cite as

The Effects of Local Ecological Knowledge, Minimum-Impact Knowledge, and Prior Experience on Visitor Perceptions of the Ecological Impacts of Backcountry Recreation

  • Ashley D’Antonio
  • Christopher Monz
  • Peter Newman
  • Steve Lawson
  • Derrick Taff


An on-site visitor survey instrument was developed to examine visitor perceptions of resource impacts resulting from backcountry hiking activities. The survey was conducted in the Bear Lake Corridor of Rocky Mountain National Park, CO and examined visitor characteristics that may influence visitor perceptions of specific resource conditions. Findings indicate that visitors are more perceptive of recreation-related resource impacts that are the result of undesirable behavior and, while visitors do perceive resource impacts, visitors tend to be more affected by crowding. Factors such as local ecological knowledge and knowledge of minimal-impact practices positively influence visitor perceptions of resource impacts. These findings support the use of visitor education on ecological knowledge and minimum-impact as a means of increasing visitor awareness of recreation impact issues.


Visitor perceptions Recreation resource impacts Structural equation modeling Prior experience Local ecological knowledge 



This research was supported by funding from the S.J. and Jessie S. Quinney Foundation and the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. The authors thank Larry Gamble and Judy Visty of the National Park Service for their help with and support of this research. We also thank Annie Weilier, Kevin Dombrock, and Michael Czaja for help in administering the surveys.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashley D’Antonio
    • 1
  • Christopher Monz
    • 2
  • Peter Newman
    • 3
  • Steve Lawson
    • 4
  • Derrick Taff
    • 3
  1. 1.Environment and SocietyUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  2. 2.College of Natural ResourcesUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  3. 3.Department of Human Dimensions of Natural ResourcesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  4. 4.Resource Systems Group, Inc.White River JunctionUSA

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