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A Test of the Effect of Place Attachment on the Crowding Norms of Hikers

Chris A.B. Zajchowski, Kensey Armeson, Jeff Rose, Matthew T.J. Brownlee


Research focused on the effect of place attachment on perceptions of increased recreational use and subsequent ecological impacts has illustrated mixed results. In some cases, place identity contributes to higher acceptance of pollution and litter; in others, it yields negative attitudes toward crowding and environmental degradation. We tested the hypothesis that hikers who are attached to specific places are more sensitive to crowding. Using an indicators and thresholds approach, we assessed the relationship between place attachment and acceptability norms for People-At-One-Time through surveying hikers (n = 170) at the Living Room in the wildland– urban interface of Salt Lake City, Utah. Results illustrate moderate place attachment; however, no relationship between place attachment and acceptability norms for hikers was discovered. We support the proposition that the relationship between place attachment and perceptions of ecological conditions is site specific, but reject the notion that hikers attached to specific places are more sensitive to increasing use.

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place attachment; social norms; wildland–urban interface; hiking, crowding

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