National forest use and outdoor recreation constraints across four ethnic and minority populations in Georgia
Parker, Susan Elizabeth
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The people of the United States enjoy and recreate on public lands including national forests which provide a variety of settings and opportunities for various outdoor recreation activities. Additionally, recent research has shown the overall percentage of participation in outdoor recreation activities is increasing; however, participation rates are shifting within the available activity options. This outdoor recreation activity shift combined with declining budgets and changes in population demographics are resulting in outdoor recreation managers being challenged to meet the demands of their visitors. Therefore, this study examined forest-based outdoor recreation patterns, preferences, and constraints across four ethnic and minority populations in northern Georgia. This study collected and examined data from two survey areas: on-site and off-site. On-site data were collected using intercept surveys at three sites within the Chattahoochee National Forest which represented the range of recreational facilities and recreation areas available in the national forest. Off-site data were collected using intercept surveys at sites within 70 miles of the Chattahoochee National Forest border and included two flea markets in northern Georgia as well as city, county, and state parks. The research protocol was developed and tested during a pilot test in 2010. The resulting self-administered intercept survey was used to obtain a sample of 1,045 respondents on-site at three national forest recreational sites and 1,005 respondents off-site at various recreational sites in metro Atlanta. Results suggested Whites and Asian Americans are well represented at some recreation sites in the Chattahoochee National Forest. However, some non-traditional users (i.e., African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos) are still under-represented at this national forest. Furthermore, results suggest that patterns, preferences, and perceived constraints to outdoor recreation on national forests of northern Georgia across diverse audiences are complex. Overall, this dissertation established the groundwork for identifying issues related to outdoor recreation on national forests in northern Georgia which can be used by outdoor recreation managers to help meet visitor’s changing demands for forest-based outdoor recreation.