Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Recreational Displacement and Overall Satisfaction: A Study of Central Iowa's Licensed Boaters

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Recreational Displacement and Overall Satisfaction: A Study of Central Iowa's Licensed Boaters

Article excerpt

The association between resource quality and area utilization has provided the rationale for a wide range of outdoor recreation planning and management decisions (Becker, 1981). Attempts to associate demand for recreation with attributes of the recreation setting, have hypothesized recreational displacement as an explanation for the lack of a relationship between adverse changes in the environment and overall satisfaction with the experience (Shelby, Bregenzer, & Johnson, 1988). Researchers hypothesize that recreationists who are not satisfied with their experience because of less than desirable setting attributes go elsewhere, and are replaced by individuals who are satisfied with the setting (Manning, 1986; Shelby & Heberlein, 1986; Stankey & McCool, 1984; Vaske, Donnelly, & Heberlein, 1980). This paper examines the extent to which recreation displacement has occurred in response to detrimental changes in a water-based recreation setting, and the relationship between displacement behavior and overall satisfaction.

Recreational displacement research has primarily examined the relationship between changes in the social conditions and the various forms of displacement. Few studies have investigated the relationship between displacement and overall satisfaction. The methodologies for understanding recreation displacement suggest inherent difficulties in studying the behaviors and attitudes of outdoor recreationists who are not there (Nielsen & Endo, 1977). Early research mailed surveys to summer-season permit holders for a specific wilderness area (Anderson & Brown, 1984; Shelby, et al., 1988), and conducted on-site interviews (Becker, 1981; Dekker, 1976; Hammitt & Patterson, 1991; Nielsen & Endo, 1977). Current users of the setting were questioned about their cognitive or behavioral reactions to changes in the recreation setting. This research offers only a qualified documentation of the displacement process (Kuentzel & Heberlein, 1992), and does not provide empirical evidence for the inverse relationship between displacement and overall satisfaction.

Recent displacement investigations have used panel studies to document the behavioral and attitudinal consequences of changes in the social conditions of a recreation setting (Kuentzel & Heberlein, 1992; Shindler & Shelby, 1992). These studies contacted respondents on-site initially (1975 and 1977, respectively), with mail questionnaire follow-ups (1985 and 1991). Panel studies can more accurately determine the relationship between crowding and the various coping mechanisms (e.g., displacement). People who feel crowded employ combinations of cognitive and avoidance coping measures (Kuentzel & Heberlein, 1992). Panel studies are a preferred technique for investigating recreation displacement, but replication tends to be difficult, costly and time consuming.

As an alternative, recreational users within a given radius of a specific resource that has environmental problems could be surveyed. Random sampling procedures allow researchers to distinguish between those who have never used a recreation setting, those who continue to use it, and those who have discontinued their use of this recreation setting. This design is more efficient than on-site sampling, and avoids the cost and time constraints of panel studies.

This study had two objectives. First, to determine the extent to which recreation displacement has occurred in response to adverse resource changes at Lake Red Rock (LRR) in central Iowa; and second, to determine if persons who were displaced were less satisfied with the recreation setting at LRR than those who were not. A random sample of licensed boaters was used to accomplish these objectives.

RESEARCH METHODS

Lake Red Rock (LRR) is an Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) reservoir on the Des Moines River in central Iowa. The lake is a man-made reservoir used for flood control, low flow augmentation, and water-based recreation. …

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