The influence of place attachment on user perceptions and preferences
Sharp, Julie Anne
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Located in the Greater Metropolitan Atlanta region of Georgia, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park (KMNBP) was set aside for protection by the War Department in 1917, and transferred to the National Park Service (NPS) in 1933. In 2006 the population of Metro Atlanta reached just over five million. Development coupled with high real estate values has resulted few public recreation sites available in the region. This lack of outdoor recreation opportunities has resulted in unsustainable pressure being applied to KMNBP, with over 1.4 million visitors in 2007; this has led to a number of management considerations. The objective of this study was to: (1) examine the relationship between place attachment, and type and frequency of use; and (2) investigate associations between a recreational user’s place attachment and management issues regarding crowding and fees. Data for this study were obtained via selfadministered intercept survey of a random sample of visitors at KMNBP from February through September 2007. Mean overall place attachment was considered moderate. Results suggested that place attachment had a significant relationship with frequency of visits, activity type and proposed fee options. There was, however, no significant relationship found between place attachment and perceived crowding. A more focused examination of the two main dimensions of place attachment (place dependence and place identity) would give the management at KMNBP an even better understanding of who their visitors are, along with greater insight into their preferences and attitudes. There are many more of our national historic sites experiencing management issues similar to those of KMNBP. The NPS management is constantly wrestling with the question of how to balance the mission of a National Park Historic Site when it becomes a recreational use area due to the pressures of urban sprawl.