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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The perception of crowding in outdoor recreation McHardy, Pauline Sydney

Abstract

The hypothesis tested in this thesis is that parks in the Lower Fraser Valley are crowded, that visitors perceive this crowding and, as a result, the recreational experience of the visitors has diminished. Cultus Lake and Golden Ears Provincial Parks in the Lower Fraser Valley were chosen as the parks in which the study was to be conducted. Information about perception of crowding and other factors affecting perception was solicited from both campers and day users at the park in the period July-August, 1971. Information was collected through the use of a questionnaire. Several multi-variate data analysis techniques were applied to the resultant data. The object of the analysis was to find out which socio-economic variables were significantly related to perception of crowding and if perception of crowding was related to an objective measure of the environment. The measure was density. In addition, an attempt was made to find out if the traditional concept of user groups is a meaningful way of looking at visitors when perceptions and satisfaction of visitors is the issue being studied. The research analysis revealed that perception of crowding exists to a greater extent among day users than among campers; that perception of crowding was related to density among day users. The analysis further revealed that the traditional concept of user groups, i.e., fishing, hiking, etc., offers little by way of categorizing users when perception is the object of study, since individuals in the same user group perceive crowding differently. The analysis also revealed that there is a need for more intensive research so as to reveal factors significant in influencing perception of crowding in the recreational environment.

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