Understanding Visitor Knowledge and Managing Visitor Behavior in Protected Areas

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Title:
Understanding Visitor Knowledge and Managing Visitor Behavior in Protected Areas
Physical Description:
1 online resource (66 p.)
Language:
english
Creator:
Croteau,Amanda C
Publisher:
University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
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Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( M.S.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Recreation, Parks, and Tourism, Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management
Committee Chair:
Holland, Stephen
Committee Members:
Thapa, Brijesh
Cichra, Charles E

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
behavior -- depreciative -- facilities -- knowledge -- protected -- visitor
Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
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Recreation, Parks, and Tourism thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract:
Depreciative behaviors by visitors to natural areas can cause damage to the resource and negatively impact the recreational experiences of others. These behaviors may be willful or accidental, and they can be related to a number of physical and social factors. The more land managers know about the factors influencing behaviors and the attitudes towards policies, the better they will be able to develop effective interventions. Robinson Preserve, a 487-acre protected estuary located on Florida?s Gulf Coast, has been plagued by a variety of visitor depreciative behaviors since its establishment in 2003. An on-site visitor-intercept survey was developed to examine how visitor knowledge and opinions relate to visitor behavior. The survey was divided into four sections: 1) how visitors acquire information; 2) visitor knowledge; 3) visitor attitudes and behaviors; and 4) demographic data. It was distributed by volunteers at two locations within Robinson Preserve from February 19 to March 4, 2011. A total of 734 surveys were collected. Respondents were predominately older, highly educated, and had moderate to high incomes. The majority of respondents were local (38%) or were domestic tourists (35%). Discrepancies were found regarding how visitors preferred to acquire information and how they were actually getting information about Robinson Preserve. Websites, trail-side signage, brochures, and visitor?s centers were most preferred, while only trail-side signage and brochures were frequently used by visitors. Pearson?s correlations were used to determine the relationship between visitor behavior and knowledge, environmental behavior, and facilities experience. Knowledge showed the most significant relationship with depreciative behavior overall, with visitor behavior improving with increasing knowledge of the preserve, its rules, and understanding of its ecosystem. Facilities experience was also significantly correlated with visitor depreciative behavior, indicating that as visitors opinions of the facilities (trails, signage, staff, etc.) increased their behavior improved. Respondents were subdivided by activity type and visitation rate (frequent, moderate, or rare). Knowledge was significantly correlated with behavior for most activity types, and all visitation subgroups. Facilities experience was significantly correlated with behavior for both the frequent and rare visitation groups. Environmental behavior was not significantly correlated with visitor behavior overall or for any subgroup.
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
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This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Amanda C Croteau.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2011.
Local:
Adviser: Holland, Stephen.
Electronic Access:
RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2012-08-31

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Applicable rights reserved.
Classification:
lcc - LD1780 2011
System ID:
UFE0043460:00001


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1 UNDERSTANDING VISITO R KNOWLEDGE AND MANAGING VISITOR BEH AVIOR IN PROTECTED A REAS By AMANDA CROTEAU A THESIS PRESENTED T O THE GRADUATE SCHOO L OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL F ULFILLMENT OF THE RE QUIREMENTS FOR THE D EGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORID A 2011

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2 2011 Amanda Croteau

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3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank the chair, Dr. Stephen Holland, and members of my supervisory committee, Dr. Brijesh Thapa and Dr. Charles Cichra, for their mentor ing, patience, flexibility, and support. I thank Melissa Nell and the Manatee County Natural Resource Division staff, as well as the rangers of Robinson Preserve for the permission to work in their beautiful preserve and their facilitation of the on site s urvey work. Many thanks go to the volunteers who helped me distribute my surveys, and the 734 respondents for their honest and open participation.

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4 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 3 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 6 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 10 Background ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 10 Statement of Research Problem ................................ ................................ .............................. 11 Purpose of Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 12 Significance of Study ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 12 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 12 Research Site: Robinson Preserve ................................ ................................ .......................... 13 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 13 History of Land Use ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 13 Purchase and Restorati on ................................ ................................ ................................ 13 Preserve Management: Natural Resources Department ................................ .................. 15 Activities in Robinson Preserve ................................ ................................ ...................... 15 Preserve Rules ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 16 Problems ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 17 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE ................................ ................................ .............. 18 Depreciative Behavior ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 18 Management Techniques to Control Visitor Behavior ................................ ........................... 18 Theory Based Interve ntions ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 20 Case Studies: Controlling Depreciative Visitor Behavior ................................ ...................... 24 Environmental Behavior and Specialization ................................ ................................ .......... 26 The Need for Continued Research ................................ ................................ .......................... 27 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 28 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 28 Objectives ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 28 Survey Development and Operationalization of Variables ................................ .................... 29 In formation Search Behaviors ................................ ................................ ......................... 29 Visitor Knowledge ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 29 Visitor Attitudes and Behaviors ................................ ................................ ...................... 29

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5 Visitor Information ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 30 Survey Testing ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 30 Social Desirability Bias ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 30 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 31 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 32 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 33 Profile of Respondents ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 33 Information Acquisition ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 34 Visitor Knowledge ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 34 Environmental Behaviors ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 35 Facilities Experience ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 36 Visitor Behaviors ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 36 Correlations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 36 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 54 APPENDIX A VISITOR CONSENT ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 59 B SURVEY INSTRUMENT ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 60 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 63 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 66

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6 L IST OF TABLES Table page 4 1 Reliability analysis for vistor knowledge items. ................................ ................................ 38 4 2 Index score statistics. ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 38 4 3 Reliability analysis for environmental behavior items. ................................ ..................... 39 4 4 Reliability analysis for facilities experience items. ................................ ........................... 39 4 5 Reliability analysis for visitor behavior items. ................................ ................................ .. 40 4 6 ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 40 4 7 ................................ ................................ ........... 41 4 8 ................................ ................................ ... 42

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7 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4 1 Visitor age. ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 43 4 2 Visitor education. ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 43 4 3 Visitor income. ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 44 4 4 Visitor residence. ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 44 4 5 Residency of part time Florida residents. ................................ ................................ .......... 45 4 6 ............................... 45 4 7 Robinson Preserve visitation rate. ................................ ................................ ...................... 46 4 8 Transportation used to get to Robinson Preserve. ................................ ............................. 46 4 9 Entrance used to access Robinson Preserve. ................................ ................................ ...... 47 4 10 Activities re spondents participate in at Robinson Preserve. Percentage by preference. ... 47 4 11 Information acquisition before visiting Robinson Preserve. ................................ .............. 48 4 12 Information acquisition during visit to Robinson Preserve. ................................ .............. 48 4 13 General information acquisition preferences. ................................ ................................ .... 49 4 14 Visitor responses to knowledge items. ................................ ................................ ............... 49 4 15 Visitor responses to ecosystem function question. ................................ ............................ 50 4 16 Visitor resp onses to preserve hours question. ................................ ................................ .... 50 4 17 Visitor participation in activities related to the environment. ................................ ............ 51 4 18 Visitor member ship in environmental organizations. ................................ ........................ 51 4 19 pro preserve statements. ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 52 4 20 preserve behaviors. ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 53

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8 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial F ulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science UNDERSTANDING VISITOR KNOWLEDGE AND MANAGING VISITOR BEHAVIOR IN PROTECTED AREAS By Amanda Croteau August 2011 Chair: Stephen Holland Major: Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Depreciativ e behaviors by visitors to natural areas can cause damage to the resource and negatively impact the recreational experiences of others. These behaviors may be willful or accidental, and they can be related to a number of physical and social factors. The mo re land managers know about the factors influencing behaviors and the attitudes towards policies, the better they will be able to develop effective interventions. Robinson Preserve, a 487 acre gued by a variety of visitor depreciative behaviors since its establishment in 2003. An on site visitor intercept survey was developed to examine how visitor knowledge and opinions relate to visitor behavior. The survey was divided into four sections: 1) h ow visitors acquire information; 2) visitor knowledge; 3) visitor attitudes and behaviors; and 4) demographic data. It was distributed by volunteers at two locations within Robinson Preserve from February 19 to March 4, 2011. A total of 734 surveys were co llected. Respondents were predominately older, highly educated, and had moderate to high incomes. The majority of respondents were local (38%) or were domestic tourists (35%). Discrepancies were found regarding how visitors preferred to acquire information and how they were actually getting information about Robinson Preserve. Websites, trail side signage,

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9 side signage and brochures s were used to determine the relationship between visitor behavior and knowledge, environmental behavior, and facilities experience. Knowledge showed the most significant relationship with depreciative behavior overall, with visitor behavior improving with increasing knowledge of the preserve, its rules, and understanding of its ecosystem. Facilities experience was also significantly correlated with visitor depreciative behavior, indicating that as visitors opinions of the facilities (trails, signage, staff etc.) increased their behavior improved. Respondents were subdivided by activity type and visitation rate (frequent, moderate, or rare). Knowledge was significantly correlated with behavior for most activity types, and all visitation subgroups. Facilitie s experience was significantly correlated with behavior for both the frequent and rare visitation groups. Environmental behavior was not significantly correlated with visitor behavior overall or for any subgroup.

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10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Background Damage to natural areas due to visitor impact is a major problem facing outdoor recreation management today. As visitation increases, managers are faced with a delicate balancing act between their two core mandates: resource protection and public recreation. All visitors to protected areas leave traces of their presence. These traces can be seen in the cumulative affects of visitation, such as trail erosion or vegetation trampling. Some effects directly impact other visitors in the form of over crowding or recreat ion conflict. Other impacts occur due to rule violations. Some of these violations are accidental, such as venturing off a poorly marked trail, while others are willful violations like littering and graffiti. At a time when outdoor recreation agencies are being called upon to provide more services with less funding and fewer staff, visitor damage becomes a greater problem. Money and manpower that must be spent repairing damage has to be diverted from other projects. Thus, new methods should be developed to curb this problem, as many agencies do not have the resources to make constant repairs, or to directly enforce park rules. Research has found that resource damage can be self perpetuating. Samdahl and Christensen (1985) found that carving on campground p icnic tables was more likely to occur on tables that had previously been carved upon than on picnic tables free of carving. This gives credence to the theory that environmental cues such as carving, graffiti, and litter, may contribute to future park vanda lism. Not all damage is deliberate; in fact studies have shown that often violators break rules due to ignorance of the rules. Others may do so because they do not see their violation as harmful

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11 because they are unaware of the consequences or because they rationalize the consequences as acceptable (Ward and Roggenbuck, 2003). Park infrastructure, such as signage and availability of trash bins can lead to deviant behavior. Clark, Burgess, and Hendee (1972) found that a contributing factor for littering was the location of trash receptacles. Park damage is two fold, as it damages the resource itself and also the quality of the recreational experience. Signs of humans disturb some visitors that frequent natural areas to be one with nature and view it in its p ure state. Graffiti, litter, carvings, and other sorts of vandalism are glaring signs of human presence that affect the quality of natural experiences. Noise and crowding from other recreational users can also lead to conflict, and may displace users to ch oose alternative destinations. However, measures taken to manage depreciative visitor behavior can themselves deter visitation. Statement of Research Problem Protected area regulations and interpretation are developed either preemptively to prevent degrad ation, or after a problem has occurred, to change disruptive and depreciative behaviors. In either case, the measures taken to manage depreciative behaviors need to be effectively designed to affect the target audience, both in message and placement. If th e communication of behavior changing messages, regulations, and interpretation is not placed in a manner where it is easily seen, not written to appeal to its target audience, or is confusing, then at best the resources used to developed these messages hav e been wasted, or at worst, may have had a negative effect on visitor behavior or visitation. To determine why visitors are participating in disruptive and depreciative behaviors are occurring, managers need to understand who their visitors are, what thei r recreational priorities

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12 are, how they are obtaining information regarding the preserve, their knowledge and attitudes regarding the protected ecosystem, preserve regulations, and facilities. Purpose of Study The purpose of this study is to better unders tand the visitors to Robinson Preserve, their information and recreational preferences, and the factors that are contributing to their depreciative behaviors. Significance of Study Understanding why visitors disobey rules and developing the best methods t o modify deviant behaviors, are important to successful natural resource management. Managers are tasked with both preserving the resource and providing recreational and educational opportunities to the public. Too often visitation has negative impacts on both natural resources and the quality of visitor experiences. Understanding these impacts and how to prevent them would allow managers to direct their limited resources into management strategies that work. Research Questions This study will address the following questions: What are the basic demographics of visitors to Robinson Preserve? Where do they come from? How often do they visit? What activities and facilities are they using? How are visitors obtaining information about the preserve? What informat ion are they retaining? What are their opinions about the preserve, its rules, and staff? Do increased knowledge and participation in environmental/educational programs affect depreciative behavior? What are the best predictors of depreciative behavior?

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13 R esearch Site: Robinson Preserve Introduction Robinson Preserve is a 487 acre protected preserve. Originally a wetland, it was drained and used for agriculture and other indu stry until purchased by Manatee County in 2003. Although habitat restoration is still ongoing, the preserve is open to, and heavily used by, the public. Since its purchase by the county, many conflicts have arisen between users and managers, between variou s user groups, and between user and restoration goals. History of Land Use In the 1920s, the wetland property was ditched to divert tidal inundation, and drained, for agricultural usage. Originally row crops were planted. Later, the land was used to raise bulbs, flowers, ornamentals, and other landscape plants. Following agriculture, part of the western portion held a barn/storage facility for a roofing company. The historical land use of the property severely damaged the natural ecosystem. The wetland ha d been drained and ditches had been put in place to alter the natural hydrology (both tidal influences and freshwater flow from terrestrial sources). A wide variety of non native and invasive plant species had become established. Also, debris associated wi th agriculture and construction had accumulated, including metal roofing, rusted equipment and parts, nails, and a buried oil drum. Purchase and Restoration In January 2003, the Robinson family sold the 487 acre property to Manatee County for the creation of a county preserve. Funding for purchase and restoration of Robinson Preserve was provided by the Florida Communities Trust Florida Forever Program, Florida Fish and

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14 Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Saras ota Bay and Estuary Program, Florida Communities Trust, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Robinson Preserve, 2009). Restoration of the new preserve began immediately. Over 600,000 cubic yards of earth were r emoved to create 12 acres of open water, 56 acres of marsh, and 10 acres of uplands. Existing and new ponds were reconnected to the neighboring larger water bodies of the Manatee River, Palma Sola Bay, and Perico Bayou by the creation of 2.5 miles of chann els. Two artificial reefs were added to the largest lagoon. Waterway restoration was completed in June 2006. Once the waterway restoration was completed, tidal flow was reestablished, which allowed the restoration of the various habitats to begin. The main habitat types of Robinson Preserve are mangrove tidal creeks, salt marsh, saltern, brackish wetlands, and uplands. Invasive species were removed from each habitat, and native vegetation was planted. The habitat restoration projects were completed by priva te contractors, county staff, and volunteers. While habitat restoration was underway, the construction of preserve infrastructure and facilities began. Approximately 3.5 miles of shell trails and 2.5 miles of paved trails were constructed. Two docks, one 500 foot long boardwalk, and 9 bridges were built to provide pedestrian access to the entire park as well as fishing opportunities. A 53 foot tall observation tower was added, which provides a view of the entire park, the Gulf of Mexico, and four surroundi ng counties. A canoe/kayak launch and storage facilities were developed. A shell parking lot was constructed at the main entrance. The 120 year old Valentine House was transported to Robinson Preserve across 6.5 miles of open water, from neighboring Port M

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15 The park opened to the public in July 2008. Habitat restoration is ongoing. Interpretive signage, restoration of the Valentine House, and additional facilities construction continue to this day. Preserve Mana gement: Natural Resources Department natural resources. Over 29,000 acres of the 12 publi c preserves are being protected by MCNRD, of which Robinson Preserve is included (Natural Resources, 2009). resources, and the restoration of native ecosystems. It work s to restore disturbed and degraded areas to historically natural conditions. Some of the tools commonly used in this restoration effort are prescribed burning, removal of invasive species, the replanting of native species, and the restoration of hydrology recreational opportunities, and utilization of preserves to promote environmental awareness. However, these management goals are secondary to those of protection and restorati on, and all recreational and educational opportunities are critically examined for their potential impact on the habitat. Activities in Robinson Preserve Approved recreation opportunities in Robinson Preserve are hiking and nature trails, kayak/canoeing t rails, environmental education (self guided), bicycle trails, rollerblading, fishing, picnic areas, wildlife viewing, and group camping (currently under construction). Pets are allowed, as long as they remain on a leash. Periodically, a ranger or MCNRD vol unteer will

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16 lead groups on a variety of tours, from guided wagon tours in which they receive general information about the preserve to shutter strolls in which amateur wildlife photographers are lead through the park looking for the perfect shot and receiv ing tips from local photographers. School groups often schedule guided visits. Also, MCNRD staff led volunteer work days to contribute to variety of continuing restoration projects. Preserve Rules As stated in the preserve brochure, the rules for Robinso n Preserve are as follows: Hours are from 8 AM to sunset. Gates are locked when the sun is not visible on the horizon. Visitors must remain on mapped trails and boardwalks; disturbing wildlife or destruction of habitat by walking or bicycling off trails is prohibited. Collecting of any kind is prohibited; all plants, animals and artifacts are protected by federal, state and local law. Alcohol is prohibited on Preserve property. Littering will incur a fine up to $500. Glass containers are not allowed. Pet o wners are responsible for keeping animals held on a leash and under control at all times. Proper removal and disposal of pet waste is required. Pets are not allowed to damage habitat or approach wildlife by leaving trails or entering water bodies. Wildlife is protected by law from being hunted, harassed, injured, captured, chased, displaced or otherwise disturbed. Please enjoy viewing and photographing wildlife from a distance. Fishing is allowed at piers and bridges only. Wading and cast nets are prohibite d in waters inside Preserve property. Fishing for commercial purposes is prohibited. Bicycles must yield to pedestrians and keep a safe speed. Motorized marine vessels of any kind are prohibited. Off road driving in the Preserve is prohibited. No ATVs, of f road motorcycles or other unregistered motorized vehicles allowed.

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17 Preserve employees reserve the right to expel visitors for violation of these rules and/or any listed in Manatee County Code Chapter 2 24. Problems From purchase to the present day, Robi nson Preserve has been plagued by a variety of user related problems. These problems can primarily be separated into two categories, first, rule disobedience, and second, user group conflicts. The primary rules being disobeyed by individuals are varied. Lo cal individuals enter the park when it is not open, via adjacent private property. Visitors go off trail for a variety of reasons, including confusion over marked trails, the desire to inspect or photograph wildlife, and the landing of kayaks and canoes in unauthorized locations. Anglers go off trail as well, and use unauthorized nets. Many pet owners fail to keep their pets on a leash, these pets go off trail, enter the water, chase wildlife, and cause habitat damage. Many pet owners also do not properly c ollect and dispose of pet waste. Though not as frequent as the previously stated problems, many types of unauthorized vehicles (e.g., golf carts, dirt bikes, and other types motorized vehicles) have been turned away or asked to leave the park. User confl icts primarily occur between walkers and cyclists and rollerbladers. Approximately 2.5 miles of trails were paved to allow for recreation by bicyclists and rollerbladers. On these trails, there have been many near accidents between these user groups and wa lkers. The trails themselves have many blind turns due to dense vegetation, but many cyclists and rollerbladers do not yield to pedestrians or abide by safe speed regulations. Other user conflicts have occurred between pet owners who do not keep their pets leashed, and other pet owners (potential fights among pets), as well as other visitors who value wildlife viewing.

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18 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LI TERATURE Depreciative Behavior Noncompliant and depreciative visitor behaviors are a significant problem faced by natural resource managers as they work to balance their mandates of resource protection and recreation. A 1994 survey of U.S. national park superintendents found that 72% of respondents reported that visitor noncompliance of park rules and regulations caused significant damage to resources. The estimated annual cost of this damage was estimated to exceed $80 million (Johnson and Vande Kamp 1994). In coastal parks and preserves especially, visitors are known to pick up, transport, disturb, disassemble, o r remove biota for a variety of purposes including fun, curiosity, education, and collecting (Alessa et al. 2003). These behaviors not only impact the resource itself but cumulatively can also negatively influence visitor satisfaction, which may lead to a decline in visitation and revenue. Management Techniques to Control Visitor Behavior Natural resource managers most commonly manage depreciative behavior and its various impacts through the development and implementation of regulations, site management, an d education. Regulations place limitations on visitor use and behavior. Often these regulations are considered command and control messages such as: Do not feed the wildlife. If visitors break these regulations, consequences can vary including warning cita tions, fines, loss of privileges, or in some cases legal action. While aggressive enforcement of regulations will almost guarantee compliance, enforcement is both costly and man power dependent. Also, visitors to natural areas enjoy the feeling of freedom that is often inspired by nature, oppressive regulation and visible enforcement can antagonize and alienate visitors, negatively impacting their experience. Site management is the altering of the site to alter behavior or reduce impacts. The addition of

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19 tr ashcans to reduce littering, expansion of trails to reduce social trails, and the hardening of trails to limit the impact on high traffic areas are all examples of site management. While this method is a less direct form of behavior management it may be co stly and can permanently alter the landscape. Education and interpretation in natural areas is a more indirect and less invasive approach to behavior management. This method assumes that depreciative behavior occurs because visitors lack the knowledge to r elate their actions to the negative effects they cause, or the skills to avoid damage. However, because of this, educational methods only deal with uniformed or unskilled actions (not deliberate ones). Signs, brochures, videos, guided tours, and face to fa ce interactions are among the many ways in which education can be presented to visitors. Signs and brochures are among the easiest, cheapest, and most commonly used methods to reduce depreciative and non compliant behavior. Four general types of messages a re commonly used with these types of media: plea, sanction, prohibition, and interpretation (Bradford and McIntyre 2007). Plea messages ask visitors not to participate in certain behaviors (Please stay on marked trails, Please do not litter, Please do not feed the wildlife). Sanction messages instruct visitors to not violate regulations and communicate the consequence of violation (Do not litter. Violators are subject to a $250 500 fine). Messages of prohibition communicate only what visitors should not do, not the consequences (Removal of artifacts is prohibited). Interpretive messages explain not only the regulations, but also the necessity for them (Restoration in progress, please stay on marked trails). Attribution messages may be considered a form of i nterpretive message, and serve to link the impacts of the behavior, directly to the behavior (Bradford and McIntyre 2007). While results have been mixed regarding which message yields the best result, most research indicates that any of these messages is better than none to reduce depreciative behavior.

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20 Theory Based Interventions Just because a management technique is commonly used does not mean that it will work in every situation or with every user group. In his 1996 paper on understanding visitor know ledge, Ross Loomis describes the visitation trends at Gateway Arch Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. Throughout the year the same interpretation is offered, however in the fall, visitors are primarily composed of empty nesters and retirees and in the summer v isitors are made up of younger people and families. In the fall, visitors were attentive, asked questions, and seemed to learn from the interpretive experience. Summer visitors were far less attentive, asked fewer questions, and were more interested in act ivities than interpretation. To understand what causes depreciative behavior and how to effectively design management interventions, studies have examined the issue by drawing from theories rooted in social psychology, psychology, and sociology. These theo ries include norms, attitude based, and moral reasoning (Widner and Roggenbuck 2000). Social norms are societal beliefs regarding right and wrong, as well as behavioral cues and expectations. These norms may be officially sanctioned, such as laws prohibiti ng murder, or informal primarily relying on the disapproval of others as an enforcement mechanism (Gramann and Vander Stoep 1987). Social norms are frequently violated. Gramann and Vander Stoep (1987) developed a taxonomy of norm violations with six genera l types: unintentional, releaser cue, uninformed, responsibility denial, status confirming, and willful. Unintentional violations are those, which occur because individuals are unfamiliar with expected behavior. Releaser cue violations are dependent upon c onditions in the physical environment, which can promote deviant behaviors. These cues can eliminate social norm inhibitions that would normally prevent the behavior. Samdahl and Christensen (1985) found carving on campground picnic tables occurred more fr equently (two and one half times more) on tables which displayed previous

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21 carvings (releaser cue), than on those which were untouched. Uninformed violations occur when the rules exist, unlike unintentional violations, however, they do not understand the negative consequences associated with them. When people recognize a norm, support it in principle, but feel that obeying it is unreasonable or impossible, this behavior is considered a responsibility denial violation. For example, Ward and Roggenbuck (2003) found that visitors to Petrified Forest National Park rationalized their theft of small pieces of petrified wood as acceptable and therefore not stealing. They did thi s despite the fact that all of those interviewed were exposed to anti theft messages. They felt that those messages only applied to the large pieces; therefore small pieces were acceptable to take. Status confirming violations are triggered by the desire t o fit in with, become a leader of, or earn respect/fear from a social or peer group. This is often associated with social pressure to reject larger social norms and follow group norms instead. The last violation is the willful violation. These behaviors ar e typically referred to as vandalism, and participants are aware that the actions they are taking are wrong. In terms of management, a single strategy is not likely to be able to address all types of violations. Unintentional and uninformed violations may be best targeted through education, since both of these violations stem from a lack of knowledge either about the regulation itself, or the negative consequences of their actions. Releaser cue violations may be best managed by site management techniques, w hich would alter the physical environment and remove the behavioral cue. Site management and education are tools that may be useful in dealing with responsibility denial violations. By providing and promoting alternatives to the behavior, visitors may choo se the alternative over the original desired goal. An example of this would be developing new trails or campsites, or promoting those that are under used, which would reduce traffic in heavily used

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22 areas allowing them to recover. Status confirming and wil lful violations may be the hardest behaviors to change. Gramann and Vander Stoep (1987) suggested that by encouraging individuals to participate in resource protection, and allowing them to identify as resource stewards transforming deviant groups into tho se that would support resource protection norms. Rewards, as positive reinforcement for normative behavior, were also suggested. A study that evaluated the effectiveness of incentives to encourage anti litter behavior in a campground, found that incentives were successful, and a decline was seen in the overall amount of litter (Clark et al. 1972). Willful violations, as well as certain cases of status confirming violations, will likely require direct enforcement to manage. By using applied behavior analysis management strategies for changing the behavior of park visitors can be divided into antecedent and consequence strategies (Dwyer et al. 1989). Antecedent strategies are those that are presented to and target groups prior to their participation in deprec iative behaviors. These antecedent strategies, also referred to as prompting strategies, unfavorable behavior. These strategies may take the form of a brochure handed out at the park entrance, or interpretive signage along a trail. Consequence strategies are those undertaken after depreciative behavior occurs. These strategies target guilty parties, and hope to prevent future reoccurrence of the behavior. Often these are clearly defined actions in a management plan outlined for each infraction, which may include a fine, expulsion from the premises, or in extreme cases arrest. When designing an education based management strategy, managers must also consider how their visitors learn or process the information provided to them. By interviewing visitors regarding their understanding of gravity, Minda Borun (1989, 1990, 1993) explored the idea of

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23 or a visitor entering a natural area, have about the natural world. Often, educators are thought to be teaching on a blank slate, but they actually m ust first deal with the naive notions before After a review of literat ure relating to the management of depreciative behaviors, many authors seem to agree on two things. First, noncompliant behavior is a topic full of complexity, which makes sense when you realize that every user group has different characteristics (age, sex economic and education backgrounds, belief systems, etc.), and that each natural area has different physical characteristics, educational priorities, and enforcement capabilities, and that there are many influencing factors that enter into a decision to partake in depreciative behaviors (peer pressure, opportunity, environmental cues, perceived benefit, and perceived enforcement/consequences). Secondly, it is likely that no single strategy will effectively control all noncompliant behaviors. Therefore, it is recommended that a multi pronged management approach be used (Christensen and Dustin 1989; Widner and Roggenbuck 2000). Another consideration managers need to think about, is that informational needs and communication behaviors may vary across all user groups. Experience and skill levels, ethnic background, and activity may be just a few of the factors that increase this variance. Also, first time visitors may seek a different set of information than repeat visitors, and may be more inclined to read pos ted materials and signs (Absher et al. 2002). This should be considered especially when altering information on bulletin boards, or changing posted regulations. Those

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24 that feel that they have an understanding or familiarity with the setting may not stop to notice the changes, and a different strategy may be needed to target them. Case Studies: Controlling Depreciative Visitor Behavior The most common methods used to educate visitors and control visitor behavior are personal contacts (with park personnel or volunteers), posters/signs at entrances and trailheads, brochures, and videos (Marion and Reid 2007). Due to the convenience of written informational material, brochures as well as posters and signs, have long been advocated as a means to communicate beha vioral control messages (Dwyer et al., 1989). (brochure and map) was used to redistribute users in Yellowstone National Park based on the type of recreation experience th ey hoped to achieve. Their experiment found that simple information regarding trail attributes was enough to redistribute users accordingly. By replicating this experiment, managers may be able to reduce conflicts and/or visitor disappointment relating to user group preferences and activity. Oliver et al. (1985) developed and tested a brochure, which combined both sketches and written messages, to target tree damaging and litter behaviors among low impact campers. They tested the effect of three educational treatments: 1) brochure distribution at the entrance, given with a fee receipt, 2) brochure distribution via uniformed employees, and 3) brochure distribution via uniformed employees with an additional request for campers to report destructive acts. They found that groups that received the educational brochure committed fewer destructive acts (tree damage and litter) than groups that did not receive the message. Also, treatments which included personal contact with a park employee were more effective than the brochure alone. The request for groups to report acts of vandalism was less effective than the personal contact without the request.

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25 In the San Bernardino National Forest, Absher et al. (2002) found that visitors preferred personal contact with a range r or staff member, but approximately one third to one half of all visitors did report using various print media distributed by the park (brochures, maps, etc.). The most often sought information and messages were those regarding orientation, reassurance, a nd education. Orientation messages provided the visitor with information on activities, events, and locations within the park. Reassurance messages provided information on the prevention of getting lost, avoidance of dangerous situations, and how to obtain help if needed. And education material contained information regarding plants and wildlife found in the parks, as well as ideas regarding conservation. Despite heavy usage of print material, visitors still reported a preference for face to face interactio ns, and considered those sources more credible. While face to face contact may be preferred, and signs and brochures commonly used, little empirical work has actually been done to test the various methods used by managers to reduce depreciative behaviors ( Widner and Roggenbuck 2000). To reduce petrified wood theft at Petrified Forest National Park, Widner and Roggenbuck (2000), tested three types of interventions: the on site presence of a uniformed volunteer, interpretive signage located at the entry point to the trail, and a voluntary pledge to be signed upon entry to the park itself. They found all three interventions significantly reduced the theft compared to control conditions, but that none of the interventions differed from each other in effectivenes s. Their study demonstrates that multiple methods may be effective in altering behavior, which is beneficial to managers because not all strategies may be practical given available resources (in this case volunteers) and demand (entry line congestion and p ledges). Bradford and McIntyre (2007) conducted a covert observational study at St. Lawrence Islands National Park, Ontario, Canada, to assess the effects of signage on the mitigation of

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26 social trail use. They examined the effectiveness of both message and location, and found that while plea messages were effective, attribution messages were the most effective. Signs placed at the trailhead, were more effective at reducing social trail use, than those solely placed at the entrance. However, as previously in dicated, what works in one location may not work elsewhere. Gramann and Bonifield (1995) conducted a laboratory experiment on the intentions to obey regulations in outdoor recreational areas. By presenting dilemmas, which might compel a subject to disregar d a regulation, they found that awareness of consequences (attribution) messages were effective at prompting rule obedience, especially in subjects with high social responsibility. ention to obey. factor affected the rule obedience intentions of the subject. Dwyer e t al. (1989) examined the implementation of a humorous brochure and a sign to increase visitor compliance with campground regulations at Acadia National Park. However, they found that there was no significant increase in compliance for groups that received either experimental treatment. Environmental Behavior and Specialization T he theory of recreation specialization was first introduced by Byran (1977), and is defined he three decades since the theory was first published, many studies have focused on the relationship between specialization and its affects on a variety of correlates including norms of depreciative behaviors (Wellman et al. 1982), proenvironmental orienta tions (Dyck et al. 2003), and environmental behaviors (Thapa et al. 2006), and with a variety of user groups. The common theme of these studies is that

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27 specialization in a particular form of recreation tends to increase proenvironmental orientations and be haviors, and decrease depreciative and consumptive behaviors related to that recreational activity. The Need for Continued Research (demographically, activity type, and preferences), by differences in settings (sensitivity of the resource, physical characteristics of the protected area, etc.), and by differences in established management strategies and priorities. However, research on this topic is needed to develop more standardized and universal measures. Newman et al. (2003) recommend that future research focus on the behavioral principles that are most important and effective in minimizing impacts, understanding the link between visitor knowledge and visitor behavior, the development of indicators and/or standards for analyzing visitor knowledge, the minimum level of knowledge required for acceptable behaviors, and where or how the educational material should be disseminated.

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28 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Introduction As each c onflict or problem arose at Robinson Preserve, MCNRD attempted to correct the behavior, primarily through increased signage. This stop gap effort resulted in an array of small signs with various command and control messages located at the two primary entra nces and scattered throughout the preserve. These signs are mounted to gates, poles, trash cans, and bridges. Most contain only one message. In addition, a list of preserve rules was added to the back of the map brochure. Following these changes, no positi ve alteration in overall visitor behavior has been observed. Objectives To determine why these disruptive and depreciative behaviors are occurring at Robinson Preserve, managers need to understand who the visitors are, what their recreational priorities a re, how they are obtaining information regarding the preserve, their knowledge and attitudes regarding the protected ecosystem, preserve regulations, and facilities. This study seeks to develop a visitor profile to determine where visitors are coming from, how they are learning about the preserve, what activities they are participating in, and their socio demographic composition. In addition, it will answer the following questions: What information are visitors exposed to when they enter the preserve from e ach of the entrances? What information do visitors then retain? What are the attitudes of the visitors regarding preserve facilities, policies, and enforcement? Do increased knowledge and participation in environmental/educational programs and organizatio ns affect depreciative behavior? What are the best predictors of depreciative behaviors?

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29 Survey Development and Operationalization of Variables A survey was developed to determine visitor awareness and retention of preserve rules, to evaluate self reported opinions and behaviors, and to profile visitors into user groups. Information Search Behaviors To determine how visitors to Robinson Preserve obtain information about the preserve, visitors were asked questions regarding what sources of information were used both before and during their visit. Respondents were also asked what sources of information they prefer to use in general while visiting parks and preserves. Visitor Knowledge Visitors were questioned regarding their knowledge of preserve rules, enfor cement, and basic knowledge of saltmarsh ecosystems. A total of 15 true/false and 3 short answer questions were developed using posted regulatory and educational materials available to all visitors. Special attention was paid to rules that relate to ongoin g user conflicts and damaging behaviors. Based on their answers, individuals were given a composite knowledge score. Visitor Attitudes and Behaviors Visitors were asked about their attitudes and behaviors regarding preserve regulations (depreciative behavi ors), positive environmental behaviors, and preserve facilities and staff. Attitudes related to preserve regulations were operationalized using 13 items tied to a 5 point Likert scale format ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The items were based on regulations posted in Robinson Preserve and current depreciative behaviors within the preserve. Respondents were prompted to indicate their level of agreement to statements such as is ok to go off trail as long as

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30 Positive environmental behaviors were assessed using 5 items tied to a 5 point Likert scale format based on frequency of participation, ranging from never to usually, and one short answer question. Items in this category asked visitors about their participation in environmental organizations, events, and use of various educational media. Attitudes related to preserve facilities were operationalized using 7 items tied to a 5 point Likert scale format rangin g from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Respondents were Visitor Information Visitors were asked to categorize themselves based on the socio demographic variables of age, sex, education, and income. Items regarding residence, visitation rate, mode of transportation to Robinson Preserve, entrance used, and participation in offered recreational activities, were included to develop visitor profiles. Survey Testing Once developed, the survey instrument was field tested at the study site. The field test occurred over the course of one day during November. Visitors were appro ached, asked to participate, and asked to point out any questions that they found confusing. Based on their responses, corrections were made to the survey (primarily question wording and formatting). The survey was then submitted to the University of Flori which it received (IRB approval # 2010 U 1179). Social Desirability Bias Social desirability bias (SDB) is a potential source of error in the results of surveys. SDB y socially undesirable traits or actions, and to claim socially desirable ones (Nederhof 1985). Social norms are important drivers for SDB, as they can

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31 determine what constitutes socially acceptable or undesirable actions or beliefs in a given situation. T here are three stages a subject goes through when answering questions regarding behavior: comprehension of the question, recollection of the past, and reporting of the answer. SDB can lead to errors in the reporting stage, and the use of interviewer admini stered or in person surveys may increase SDB (Pressor and Stinson 1998; Legget et. al. 2003). Methods which may be used to prevent or reduce SDB include: forced choice items, randomized response technique, the bogus pipeline, self administered surveys, tim e use items, and ballot boxes (or other similar methods which may increase anonymity) (Nederhof 1985; Pressor and Stinson 1998; and Legget et. al. 2003). To reduce SDB in this study, surveys were self administered. When asked to participate, volunteers exp lained to participants that the survey is anonymous, and assured them that preserve staff would not view their survey at anytime. Once the survey was completed, participants could seal their survey and return it to the volunteer administrator, who then pla ced it into a manila envelope along with others from that sampling session. This procedure incorporated two of the accepted methods (self administered surveys and a modified ballot box) to reduce SDB. Research Design This study utilized a visitor intercept survey. Over the course of two full weeks, from February 19 th through March 4 th during both weekends and weekdays, volunteers approached visitors to participate in the survey (target n = 200 participants). To target all types of user groups, the volunte ers were be stationed at centralized locations within the preserve, where various trails intersected and paddle users have available landing zones. Surveys were self administered, and once completed, placed into an envelope with others from that sampling s ession.

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32 Data Analysis Visitor profile information was summarized. Composite index scores were calculated for visitor knowledge, regulatory attitudes/depreciative behaviors, environmental attitudes, and ed to determine if visitor knowledge, alpha reliability analysis was performed to determine the internal reliability of each index. Microsoft Excel and Mini tab were used for data analysis.

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33 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Profile of Respondents A total of 734 surveys were collected. Males and females participated in the survey almost equally; with 47% male and 53% female respondents. The majority of respondents were older w ith 31% being 55 64 years old, 25% being 65 74 years old, and only 19% being less than 45 years old (Figure 4 1). Respondents were well educated as 25% attended some college or had a two year degree, 22% had completed a four year college degree, and 25% ha d completed a graduate degree (Figure 4 2). Similarly, respondents were fairly affluent with 49% reporting income over $75,000, and 26% reporting between $50,000 and 74,999 (Figure 4 3). Respondents were predominantly local (19% resided within the zip code for Robinson Preserve and 19% resided in another zip code of Bradenton), or were domestic visitors to Florida (35%) (Figure 4 4). Another 11% were part time Florida residents. Of those 26% who resided in the Robinson Preserve zip code, 46% resided in Brad enton, and 17% resided elsewhere in Manatee County (Figure 4 5). When asked about their visitation rates to various types of protected areas in the past two years, 29% of respondents reported that they usually visited Manatee County preserves, and 28% repo rted that they frequently visited them. State parks were reported to be visited frequently by one fourth (25%), while National Forests and National Parks as destinations were rated at moderate levels of visitation (between 15% and 18% in the categories of rarely, sometimes, frequently, and usually). U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuges and marine protected areas received the lowest reported visitation for visitors to Robinson Preserve (Figure 4 6). When asked about their rate of visitation to Robinson Preserve, 4 6% reported frequent visitation (4% daily, 23% multiple times per week, 19% multiple times per month), 20%

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34 reported moderate visitation (7% once per month, 13% less than 10 times per year), and 34% reported that they rarely visit (9% once per year, 25% fir st visit) (Figure 4 7). The majority of visitors use motorized vehicles (77%) to get to the preserve (Figure 4 8), and enter via the main entrance (78%) (Figure 4 9). Respondents were asked to rank the activities that they participate in during their visit s to Robinson Preserve. Running/walking was the most participated in activity, receiving 39% of the first choice rankings, 21% of the second, and 12% of the third. Biking was a close second (21% first choice, 21% second choice, and 17% third choice), follo wed by wildlife viewing/photography, and canoe/kayaking (Figure 4 10). Information Acquisition Visitors were asked how they acquired information about the preserve both before their visit and while at the preserve. The majority of the respondents reported that they found out methods, most often just driving by or from a local business or club. Only 13% had acquired information from the local newspaper, and a mere 7% f rom the county website (Figure 4 11). Once at the preserve, brochures (24%), orientation information from the bulletin board at the entrance (23%), and trail side signage (20%) were the most often used purveyors of information (Figure 4 12). When asked to rank how they in general preferred to gather information about natural areas, 30% chose websites as their first choice (Figure 4 13). Trail side signage received 20% of the first choice ranks followed closely by brochures (19%). Visitor Knowledge Visitors were asked to answer a series of true false questions and two short answer questions regarding their knowledge of the rules of Robinson Preserve and its protected ecosystem. The majority of respondents (90% or more) correctly answered questions regarding

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35 the importance of the ecosystem, leashing pets, and the sensitivity of saltmarsh plants to trampling. Questions regarding allowed vehicles, expulsion, pet waste, and littering had moderate knowledge scores (less than 90% but greater 75% correct). Fair scor es (less than 75% but greater than 50% correct) were received for items related to habitat restoration, bike speed, entrance after closing, the right to tow vehicles, and netting. Landing zones for canoes and kayaks, fishing regulations, ecosystem function s, and preserve hours all received poor scores (less than 50% correct) (Figures 4 14, 4 15, and 4 16). 4 1). A composite additive knowledge index was created using st andardized responses (z score transformations) for each item. The knowledge index ranged from 11.98 to 27.18, with a mean of .011 and a standard deviation of 6.91 (Table 4 2). Environmental Behaviors Respondents participated the most in passive forms of environmental behaviors such as reading books or magazines, or watching television programs about the environment. More active environmental behaviors, such as coastal clean up events or preserve activities, were less frequently participated in (Figure 4 1 7). Also, most respondents (68%) were not members of any type of environmental organization. A little more than a quarter of the respondents (26%) were involved in 1 2 organizations, while approximately 5% were involved in 3 or more (Figure 4 18). Reliabil constructs (Table 4 3). A composite additive environmental behavior index was created using standardized responses (z score transformations) for each item. The environmental beha vior index ranged from 7.96 to 12.77, with a mean of 0.03, and a standard deviation of 3.74 (Table 4 2).

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36 Facilities Experience facilities (trails, signage, visitor center and staff) were very positive (Figure 4 19). Canoe and kayak trails and landing areas and the visitor center received the lowest percentages of strongly agree/agree (61% and 58%, respectively). e facilities experience constructs (Table 4 4). A composite additive facilities index was created. The facilities index ranged from 6 to 30, with a mean of 23.98, and a standard deviation of 4.04 (Table 4 2). Visitor Behaviors Self reported visitor behavio r was generally good. Items regarding littering, taxpayer rights, collecting, dog leashing, and bike speed all received positive responses (strongly disagree or disagree) of 90% or higher. The items that received the lowest positive responses were entry be fore the preserve opens, canoe/kayak landing, wade fishing, and swimming/snorkeling within preserve boundaries (Figure 4 20). 5). A composite additive behavior index was created. The behavior index ranged from 20 to 60, with a mean of 51.74, and a standard deviation of 6.42 (Table 4 2). Correlations between visitor behaviors and vi sitor knowledge, environmental behaviors, and facilities experience. The correlations between behaviors and knowledge and behaviors and facilities experience were statistically significant (Table 4 6). Since knowledge items were scored negatively (incorrec t answer were scored 2, unsure were scored 1, and correct answers were scored 0), a negative correlation with behavior indicates that as visitor knowledge improved,

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37 their behavior improved. As both facilities experience and behaviors were scored positively (a positive response to preserve facilities or rules was scored higher on the Likert scale), an increase in visitor opinion/satisfaction regarding preserve facilities yielded an improvement in visitor behaviors. Respondents were then categorized into subg roups by visitation rates: frequent (daily, multiple times per week, or multiple times per month), moderate (once per month or less than 10 times per year), and rare (once a year or first visit). Pearson correlation coefficients were used within each subgr oup. Knowledge was significantly correlated with behaviors for all three visitation subgroups (Table 4 7). Facilities experience was significantly correlated with behavior for both the frequent and rare visitation groups (Table 4 7). Respondents were also divided into groups by the activities they reported participating in at Robinson Preserve. Pearson correlation coefficients were developed between visitor behavior and knowledge, environmental behavior, and facilities experience within each activity type ( Table 4 8). Within the preserve sponsored activities and rollerblading/skateboarding activity types, there were no significant correlations between any of the indices. Knowledge was significantly correlated with visitor behavior within the following activi ties: walking/running, canoe/kayaking, fishing, hiking, biking, dog walking, and wildlife viewing/photography. Facilities experience was significantly correlated with visitor behavior within the following activities: walking/running, canoe/kayaking, biking volunteering, and wildlife viewing/photography. Environmental behaviors were not significantly correlated to behaviors for the entire sample (Figure 4 6), or when respondents were divided by visitation frequency (Figure 4 7) or activity type (Figure 4 8)

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38 Table 4 1. Reliability analysis for vistor knowledge items. Table 4 2. Index score statistics.

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39 Table 4 3. Reliability analysis for environmental behavior items. Table 4 4. Reliability analysis for facilities experience items.

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40 Table 4 5. Reliability analysis for visitor behavior items. Table 4 ** Significant at 0.0001 level (2 tail significance)

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41 Table 4 ** Significant at 0.0001 level (2 tail signifi cance) Significant at 0.05 level (2 tail significance)

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42 Table 4 ** Significant at 0.0001 level (2 tail significance) Significant at 0.05 level (2 tail significance)

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43 Figure 4 1. Visitor age. Figure 4 2. Visitor education.

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44 Figure 4 3. Visitor income. Figure 4 4. Visitor residence.

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45 Figure 4 5. Residency of part time Florida residents. Figure 4

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46 Figure 4 7. Robinson Preserve visitation rate. Figure 4 8. Transportation used to get to Robinson Preserve.

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47 Figure 4 9. Entrance used to access Robinson Preserve. Figure 4 10. Activities respondents participate in at Robinson Pr eserve. Percentage by preference.

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48 Figure 4 11. Information acquisition before visiting Robinson Preserve. Figure 4 12. Information acquisition during visit to Robinson Preserve.

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49 Figure 4 13. General information acquisition preferences. Figure 4 14. Visitor responses to knowledge items.

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50 Figure 4 15. Visitor responses to ecosystem function question. Figure 4 16. Visitor responses to preserve hours question.

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51 Figure 4 17. Visitor participation in activities related to the environment. Figure 4 18. Visitor membership in environmental organizations.

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52 Figure 4 pro preserve statements.

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53 Figure 4 ehavior. Strongly disagree/disagree are pro preserve behaviors.

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54 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Studies have attributed visitor depreciative behaviors in natural areas to a number of into unintentional, releaser cue, uninformed, responsibility denial, status confirming, and willful. Two of these categories, unintentional and uniformed, are directly dependent on what a visitor knows and understands. Since knowledge is such an important behavior, it is vital to understand both how visitors are acquiring knowledge and how they prefer to acquire knowledge, both before and during their visitation experience. In this study, websites were the preferred first c hoice for acquiring information about natural areas, by 30% of respondents (Figure 4 13). This is not unexpected as more and more consumers are turning to the internet for their information needs. The monetary cost of this method is low, and it is quick an d easy to use (Gursoy and McCleary, 2004). Despite this expressed preference, only 7% of the respondents actually utilized the Manatee County website for information regarding Robinson Preserve (Figure 4 11). This may be due to a lack of knowledge regardin advertise this preserve, and educate their prospective or current visitors. The interne t removes the barrier of geographical distance (Luo et al., 2005), which is important for this preserve as 35% of respondents were from another state, 5% were foreign tourists, and another 11% are only part time Florida residents (Figure 4 4). Luo et al. ( 2005) found that the demographics of age, education, and occupation were not barriers to online information search preferences. Therefore, the website could be used as a tool to both increase visitation by younger age groups, the age

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55 brackets with the lowe st representation in the preserve, and to educate the older age groups, which largely dominate visitation in Robinson Preserve (Figure 4 1). Trailside signage and brochures were the second (20%) and third (19%) most preferred methods of information acquisi tion (Figure 4 13), and were also the third (20%) and first (24%) most used forms by visitors onsite (Figure 4 12). However, signage exposure (content, message, and frequency), as well as brochure availability, varied by the entrance used to access the pre serve. Visitors, who enter the preserve via the main entrance, are potentially exposed to an orientation kiosk, many sanction message signs related to the rules of the preserve, and a variety of ecosystem related interpretive trail side signage. They also have the chance to pick up a preserve brochure. Visitors, who enter via the pedestrian entrance along Manatee Avenue, are exposed to a number of small sanction message signs and have the chance to pick up a preserve brochure. Those visitors must walk for o ver a mile into the preserve before they are exposed to a single interpretative sign or any information about the animals or habitat of the preserve. This should be a significant concern to managers, since roughly 19% of respondents used the pedestrian ent rance on Manatee Avenue to access Robinson Preserve (Figure 4 9). Paddle trail users, who use the launch at the main entrance, are exposed to an orientation kiosk and many sanction message signs related to the rules of the preserve, and they have the optio n to pick up a preserve brochure and/or a paddle trail brochure. Paddle trail users, who enter via either of the three paddle trail entrances, are not exposed to any orientation information, no interpretive or sanction signage, and do not have the opportun ity to pick up a paddle trail map or preserve brochure unless they land their kayak and walk to a brochure holder, most of which are located at the main entrance or far from an approved landing zone. Paddle trail users were underestimated in this survey be cause unless they were willing to land to participate they were unable to be

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56 reached using our methods. Two percent of respondents (Figure 4 9), entered the preserve via the paddle trails, and were therefore not exposed to signage or brochures. There was a consistent and significant correlation between visitor knowledge and behavior (Tables 4 6 through 4 8). By increasing overall visitor knowledge and understanding of preserve rules and protected habitats, the managing agency should see an overall improveme nt in behavior across all visitor groups. One group in particular, fishers, showed a higher correlation than the others (Table 4 8). This may indicate that efforts to educate fishers within the preserve may yield greater behavioral changes. Facilities expe rience was significantly correlated with overall visitor behavior (Table 4 6). Interestingly, when separated into visitor subgroups, only frequent visitors and rare or first time visitors had significant correlations between facilities experience and behav ior (Table 4 7). Visitor opinions and experience with facilities has been shown to contribute to depreciative behavior. Releaser cue violations (Gramann and Vander Stoep 1987) are dependent upon conditions in the physical environment. These conditions can eliminate social norm inhibitions, which ultimately can lead to promoting deviant behaviors. Examples of behaviors that may be triggered by facilities issues are littering, graffiti, vegetation damage, and going off trail. These conditions may trigger firs t time or rare visitors to contribute to depreciative behaviors that are already occurring. White et al. (2008) found that prior experience with an area can cause visitors to become more sensitive to depreciative behaviors, environmental impacts, and recre ation conflict. This may explain why frequent users have significant correlations between facilities experience and behavior. Environmental behaviors, operationalized as participation in educational, volunteer, or organizational activities related to the e nvironment, were not significantly correlated to visitor

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57 behaviors (Tables 4 6 through 4 8). Many studies focusing on recreation specialization have found links between depreciative behaviors and environmental behavior (see Wellman et al 1992; Thapa 2006) Since this study was interested in visitors as a whole, and did not focus on a single user type, recreation specialization was not a focus of this questionnaire. Future studies of Robinson Preserve users may reveal that more specific operationalization o f this construct for each user group may reveal a correlation between environmental behavior and depreciative behavior. There are several limitations of this study. It was conducted in late February and early March, during part of the busiest visitation se ason. The high percentage of first time or rare visitors may have influenced the overall and user group correlations. To get a better understanding of the knowledge, behaviors, and make up of visitors, this study should be conducted multiple times througho ut the year. Behaviors were self reported. While surveys were anonymous, and respondents were not coached or given incentives to lie, in the future direct observation could be used to better estimate depreciative behaviors. All visitors were approached and asked to participate. A minimum sample size of 200 was the target for this study; however, subgroup targets (i.e. fishers, paddle trail users, bikers, etc.) were not set. Because of this analysis based on user groups was hampered by low samples sizes for some groups. Recommendations for MCNRD Since the pedestrian entrance is being used by 19% of visitors, orientation information, trail side signage, and brochure availability should be improved for this entrance. MCNRD should also increase signage, and pr ovide paddle trail brochures, at the entrances to the paddle trail. Rules related to fishing should be clarified. Efforts should be made to target anglers and increase their knowledge of preserve fishing regulations. Efforts should be made to increase th e use of the Robinson Preserve website (through improvements to the site and advertising). Social networking sites (such as Facebook and

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58 Twitter) may also be utilized to increase visitation and participation in preserve events, improve visitor knowledge, a nd generate feedback. resources, and the restoration of native ecosystems. However, while the managing agencies focus in on conservation, visitors overwhelmingly participat ed in purely recreational activities. Cell phone tours may be a way to provide environmental education opportunities to their visitors, at low cost and with minimum labor, to promote their management goals of conservation.

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59 APPENDIX A VISITOR CONSENT Hello, my name is ___________________. I am a volunteer with the University of Florida. We are conducting a survey of visitors to Robinson Preserve, relating to their experiences and knowledge of Robinson Preserve. This is part of a research study conducted in partnership with visitors will be contacted, so your input is very important. Your identity will be anonymous, and the findin gs of this study will not associate individual responses with any identified person. To ensure anonymity you will never be asked to identify yourself by name and once completed, your survey will be placed in a sealed envelope with the rest of the completed surveys from this session. This survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Your responses will be meet your future recreational needs. There are no anticipa ted risks, compensation, or other direct benefits to you as a participant in this study. You do not have to answer any question you do not want to. You are free to withdraw your consent to participate and may discontinue your participation at any time with out consequence. Will you participate in this study? (IF RESPONDENT AGREES THEN CONTINUE, IF NOT THANK AND TERMINATE) For more information regarding this study and its results, please contact: Principal Investigator: Faculty Sponsor: Amanda Croteau Stephen Holland, PhD University of Florida University of Florida 7922 NW 71 st St PO Box 118208 Gainesville, FL 32653 Gainesville, FL 326111 acroteau@ufl.edu sholland@hhp.ufl.edu IRB approval # 2010 U 1179 For information regarding your rights as a research participant contact the IRB at 352 392 0433.

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60 APPENDIX B SURVEY INSTRUMENT

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61 SURVEY INSTRUMENT

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62 SURVEY INSTRUMENT

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63 REFERENCES Absher, James D., Thapa, B., and Graefe, A.R. (2002). Assessing information needs and communication behaviors of national forest summer visitors. In S. Todd (comp., ed), Proceeding from the 13 th Northeastern Recreation Symposium (pp. 43 48) Gen Tech Rep. NE 289. Newton Square, PA: USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. Alessa L., Bennet, S.M, and Kliskey, A.D. (2003). Effects of knowledge, personal attribution and perception of ecosystem health on depreciative behaviors in the intertidal zon e of Pacific Rim National Park and Reserve. Journal of Environmental Management, 68, 207 218. Borun, M. (1989). Nave notions and the design of science museum exhibits. In S. Bitgood, A. Benefield, and D. Patterson (Eds.), Visitor studies: Theory, research and practice, Volume 2 158 162. Jacksonville, AL: Center for Social Design. As referenced in Loomis, Ross J. (1996). How do we know what the visitor knows?: Learning from interpretation. Journal of Interpretation Research, 1 (1), 39 45. Borun, M., and Ma ssey, C. (1990). Cognitive science research and science museum exhibits. In S. Bitgood, A. Benefield, and D. Patterson (Eds.), Visitor studies: Theory, research and practice, Volume 3 231 236. Jacksonville, AL: Center for Social Design. Borun, M., Massey, C., and Lutter, T. (1993). Nave knowledge and the design of science museum exhibits. Curator, 36 (3), 201 219. As referenced in Loomis, Ross J. (1996). How do we know what the visitor knows?: Learning from interpretation. Journal of Interpretation Resear ch, 1 (1), 39 45. Bradford, Lori E.A., and McIntyre N. (2007). Off the beaten track: messages as a means of reducing social trail use at St. Lawrence Islands National Park. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 25 (1), 1 21. Bryan, H. (1977). Lei sure value systems and recreational specialization: the case of trout fishermen. Journal of Leisure Research 9, 174 187. Christensen, H.H., and Dustin, D.L. (1989). Reaching recreationists at different levels of moral development. Journal of Park and Recr eation Administration 7 (4), 72 80. Clark, Roger N., Burgess, R.I., and Hendee, J.C. (1972). The development of anti litter behavior in a forest campground. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 5, 1 5. Dwyer, William O., Huffman, M.G., and Jarratt, L.H. (1989). A comparison of strategies for gaining compliance with campground regulations. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 7 (4), 21 30. Dyck, C., Schneider, I., Thompson, M., and Virden R. (2003). Specialization among mountaineers and its rela tionship to environmental attitudes. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 21 (2), 44 62.

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64 Gramann, James H., and Bonifield, R.L. (1995). Effect of personality and situational factors on intentions to obey rules in outdoor recreation areas. Journal of Leisure Research 27 (4), 326 343. Gramann, James H., and Vander Stoep, G.A. (1987). Prosocial behavior theory and natural resource protection: a conceptual synthesis. Journal of Environmental Management 24, 247 257. Gursoy, Dogan, and McCleary, K.W. search behavior. Annals of Tourism Research 31 (2), 353 373. Johnson, D.R., and Vande Kamp, M.E. (1994). An applied research approach to develop strategies to deter noncompliant visitor behavior in t he national parks. In D. Johnson, M. Vande Kamp, and T. Swearingen (Eds.) noncompliant visitor behavior causing resource damage in the National Park System Technical Report NPS/PNRUN/NRTR 92/07. Krumpe, Edwin E., a nd Brown P.J. (1982). Redistributing backcountry use through information related to recreation experiences. Journal of Forestry, 80 (6), 360 364. Leggett, Christopher G., Kleckner, N.S., Boyle, K.J., Duffield, J.W., and Mitchell, R.C. (2003). Social desira bility bias in contingent valuation surveys administered through in person interviews. Land Economics 79 (4), 561 575. Loomis, Ross J. (1996). How do we know what the visitor knows?: Learning from interpretation. Journal of Interpretation Research, 1 (1), 39 45. Luo, Man, Feng, R., and Cai, L.A. (2005). Information search behavior and tourist characteristics. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing 17 (2), 15 25. Marion, Jeffrey L., and Reid, S.E. (2007). Minimizing visitor impacts to protected areas: th e efficacy of low impact education programs. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 15 (1), 5 27. Nederhof, Anton J. (1985). Methods of coping with social desirability bias: a review. European Journal of Social Psychology 15, 263 280. Newman, Peter, Manning, R ., Bacon, J., Graefe, A., and Kyle, G. (2003). An evaluation of International Journal of Wilderness 9 (2), 34 38. Oliver, Susan S., Roggenbuck, J.W., and Watson, A.E. (1985). Educ ation to reduce impacts in forest campgrounds. Journal of Forestry 83, 234 236. Presser, Stanely, and Stinson, L. (1998). Data collection mode and social desirability bias in self reported religious attendance. American Sociological Review 63, 137 145. S amdahl, Diane M., and Christensen H.H. (1985). Environmental cues and vandalism: an exploratory study of picnic table carving. Environment and Behavior 17, 445 458.

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65 Thapa, Brijesh, Graefe, A.R., and Meyer, L.A. (2006). Specialization and marine based envi ronmental behaviors among SCUBA divers. Journal of Leisure Research 38 (1), 601 615. interventions to reduce petrified wood theft. Journal of Interpretation Research, 8 (1), 67 82. Wellman, J., Roggenbuck, J., and Smith, A. (1982). Recreation specialization and norms of depreciative behavior among canoeists. Journal of Leisure Research 14, 323 340. White, Dave D., Virden, R.J., and van Ripper, C.J. (2008). Effects of pla ce identity, place dependence, and experience use history on perceptions of recreation impacts in a natural setting. Environmental Management 42, 647 657. Widner, Carolyn J., and Roggenbuck, J. (2000). Reducing theft of petrified wood at Petrified Forest National Park. Journal of Interpretation Research 5 (1), 1 18.

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66 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Amanda Claire Croteau was born at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, in Jacksonville Florida. She grew up primarily in a rural area of north Florida, and graduated from Brad ford High School in 2002. She completed an AA in biology, which was started while she was a dual enrollment student in high school. Amanda then transferred to New College of Florida to pursue a BA. While as an undergrad, Amana was able to participate in se veral study abroad programs, which included travel to Honduras, Guatemala, the Galapagos Islands, and Brazil. She also completed several local internships and educational opportunities, which allowed her to work closely in her community both through teachi ng and volunteering. As a marine biology and environmental studies double major, her focus was primarily on science, but these experiences made her realize that many environmental issues could not be addressed with science alone. The human element needed t o be understood and addressed before real change could be affected. After receiving her BA from New College of Florida, Amanda applied to the Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sports Management, at the University of Florida, for a Master of Science in recreation, parks, and tourism, to better understand the social dimensions of conservation.