Over the past decades, investigations on use displacement have made significant contributions to outdoor recreation research. The concept of displacement describes one type of behavior visitors exhibit in reaction to unwanted conditions (Kuentzel & Heberlein, 1992, Shelby, Bregenzer, & Johnson, 1988). Besides management actions and resource specific conditions (Hall & Shelby, 2000), crowding, user conflicts and visitor behavior have been recognized for modifying behavior of visitors to recreation areas. Most studies on social aspects of displacement have measured crowding, visitor behavior or user conflicts as a scaled variable in one specific setting (Manning & Valliere, 2001; Shelby et al., 1988). Such a study design does not account for the complexity of real-world situations in which displacement may be affected by other social setting components. This shortcoming may be more serious for studies in urban environments, as trail use in multiple-use and high-use urban settings is characterized by diverse visitor groups and diverse behaviors, which results in a more complex recreation experience compared to wilderness settings or remote areas. For example, besides crowding, other and often competing socials factors such as the direction of movement, different degrees of visitor behavior, mixes of user types, personal needs for space, and various shares of group size might influence displacement of urban trail users. Consequently, investigations of use displacement should consider these influencing factors and present these concomitantly, leading to a more realistic description of trail use.
Researchers focused on use displacement as one potential explanation for the consistently low relationship between visitor satisfaction and concurrent reports of crowding (Manning & Valliere, 2001; Robertson & Regula, 1994; Shelby & Heberlein, 1986). Displacement is a behavioral coping mechanism and was originally described as a process of social succession (Schreyer & Knopf, 1984), where original visitors are replaced by succeeding visitors better adapted to changes in the recreation setting.
Several types of use displacement have been recognized (Manning & Valliere, 2001): spatial displacement occurs when visitors shift their use to other locations within the same area (intra-spatial) or move away from the area to other areas (inter-spatial). Another type of displacement describes visitors' change in their timing of visits. Activity displacement is defined as visitors changing their primary activity (Robertson & Regula, 1994). Some studies observed several displacement mechanisms concomitantly (Arnberger & Brandenburg, 2002; Johnson & Dawson, 2002; Manning & Valliere, 2001; Robertson & Regula, 1994).
Use displacement by crowding has been investigated for several types of areas and activity types. Among water-based users displacement by crowding was found in many studies (Hall & Shelby, 2000; Kuentzel & Heberlein, 1992; Robertson & Regula, 1994; Shelby et al., 1988). Regarding trail users, Johnson and Dawson's survey (2002) among Adirondack wilderness hikers documented spatial and temporal displacement by crowding. Similarly, Arnberger and Brandenburg (2002) documented both spatial and temporal displacement by crowding of suburban national park visitors. Manning and Valliere (2001) found relatively high levels of use displacement by local residents caused by visitor behavior and high use levels around Acadia National Park.
While research has repeatedly documented a relationship between crowding, user conflicts or visitor behavior and displacement, there has been limited success in establishing causal connections between use displacement and other social factors such as the direction of movement and the distance to other users as well as in assessing the effects of social factors in combinations with other social factors. …