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Motivations for Recreating on Farmlands, Private Forests, and State or National Parks

Abstract

This study explores the importance of different motivations to visit three types of recreational settings—farms, private forests, and state or national parks. Data were collected via a mail-back questionnaire administered to a stratified random sample of households in Missouri (USA). Descriptive and inferential statistics reveal both similarities and discontinuities in motivations for visiting farms, private forests, and state or national parks for recreation. Being with family, viewing natural scenery, and enjoying the smells and sounds of nature were all highly important motivations for visiting the three types of settings. However, all 15 motivations examined were perceived to be significantly more important for visits to state or national parks than to farms or private forests. Findings suggest that individuals are more strongly motivated to recreate at state and national parks relative to farmlands or forests. Post hoc paired t tests comparing motivations between both agricultural settings (farms and private forests) revealed significant differences in eight different recreational motivations. Individuals tended to place more importance on the ability to use equipment and test their skills when considering recreating on private forests. Conversely, social motivations (e.g., doing something with the family) were more important when individuals were considering recreating on farmland. Collectively, the findings suggest individuals expect distinctly different outcomes from their visits to farmlands, private forests, or state or national parks. Consequently, all three types of recreational settings have competitive advantages that their managers could capitalize on when making decisions about how to attract new visitors or produce the most desirable experiences for current recreationists.

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Notes

  1. Identical wording was used to solicit motivations for visiting the three types of settings except for one item: slightly different wording was used to assess “Share your outdoor skills with others,” where “outdoor” was replaced with “agritourism” when inquired about visiting agritourism farms.

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Acknowledgments

The authors express their gratitude to the University of Missouri Research Board for funding this project. Our thanks are also due to the journal editors and the reviewers for their thorough suggestions and comments.

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Correspondence to Carla Barbieri.

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Sotomayor, S., Barbieri, C., Wilhelm Stanis, S. et al. Motivations for Recreating on Farmlands, Private Forests, and State or National Parks. Environmental Management 54, 138–150 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-014-0280-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-014-0280-4

Keywords

  • Agritourism
  • Farms
  • Motivations
  • Private forests
  • Recreation experience preference