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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Exploring the environmental worldviews and Leave No Trace awareness of rock climbers in Squamish Byrd, Jason


The general theme of rock climbing is common, at its core it’s a physically active problem solving exercise with the goal of reaching the top of a three dimensional problem. Participants in this activity however, are not homogenous (Ryan et al., 2001; Hydler, 1999); the activity of climbing supports various subgroups that differ in style, training practices, required equipment, and, potentially environmental attitudes. Once seen as a fringe outdoor activity with limited opportunities, climbing is now ubiquitous in urban areas, leading to increased participation rates, which results in increased use of natural recreation resources and potential increased environmental impact where climbing takes place. This research project examines the variation of environmental worldviews and Leave No Trace awareness among rock climbers in Squamish, British Columbia. A sample of rock climbers (n = 466) at ten climbing locations in Squamish, and one climbing gym in Vancouver, British Columbia provided the respondents for this research project. First the climbers’ environmental worldviews and Leave No Trace Awareness are examined through three research questions: (RQ1) Do environmental worldviews and Leave No Trace awareness vary among climbing styles? (RQ2) Does recreation specialization predict environmental worldviews and Leave No Trace awareness among climbers? And, (RQ3) Does Leave No Trace awareness vary among climbers according to where they were introduced to the activity (i.e., outdoors or indoor climbing gym)? Further, the climbers’ support for recreation management in climbing areas is examined through: (RQ4) Is support for climbing management consistent across specialization levels and among climbing styles? The climbers’ social networks are examined with a final research question: (RQ5) Does network range influence the environmental worldviews of climbers? Recreation specialization was found to be the most significant predictor of a climber’s pro-environmental orientation, which is consistent with previous research. Whereas the climbers Leave No Trace ethics seem to be more a product of the historical use and management of local recreational resources. Additionally, the range of ties among climbing and outdoor professionals, environmental organizations, and the general climbing community were correlated with the development of biocentric worldviews among the respondents.

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