Public Parks and Sno-Parks Help Diverse Populations in California’s Central Valley Negotiate Constraints to Winter Recreation

Authors

  • Jason W. Whiting Department of Recreation Administration California State University, Fresno
  • Lincoln R. Larson Department of Parks, Recreation, & Tourism Management, North Carolina State University
  • Christopher Greenwood Department of Psychology, California State University
  • Samuel Lankford Department of Recreation Administration, California State University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18666/JPRA-2020-10161

Keywords:

Winter recreation, constraints, Latinx, California, sno-parks, parks

Abstract

As current racial and ethnic minority groups make up increasingly larger percentages of the U.S. population, recreation managers seek to understand their recreational needs and preferences. One area has received little attention: the winter recreation participation of non-White individuals (especially Latinxs). In this study, we sought to (1) examine demographic differences in constraints to visiting a conventional winter recreation destination, China Peak Mountain Resort (CPMR); and (2) explore winter recreation site use among demographically diverse populations in various types of public parks around CPMR in Fresno County, CA, including sno-parks (sites that provide snow-cleared parking lots with sanitation facilities and access to snow play areas, cross-country ski and snowmobile trails). Data were gathered “onsite” (n=491) at sno-parks along Highway 168 and “offsite” (n=1318) in communities across the Central Valley. Data from the two sites revealed significant differences in winter recreation constraints and site use patterns among different racial/ethnic and income groups. Racial and ethnic minorities and respondents with lower household income reported high levels of constraints to participation in winter recreation at CPMR. Overall, structural constraints were the most prominent barriers affecting visitation to CPMR. Our findings showed that all respondents were more likely to visit public lands (e.g., sno-parks) for winter recreation than CPMR. Public parks and sno-parks may provide particularly unique and valuable opportunities for Latinx residents and individuals from low-income groups who are historically underrepresented with respect to winter recreation in California’s Central Valley. Overall, our results yield two key conclusions regarding winter recreation: (1) commercial resort managers (e.g., CPMR) should seek ways to minimize existing structural and cultural barriers to visitation, thereby attracting a more diverse clientele; and (2) providers should consider public lands such as sno-parks as key alternatives for diverse residents seeking winter recreation experiences—especially non-White and lowincome populations who rarely visit private mountain resorts.Subscribe to JPRA

Author Biographies

Jason W. Whiting, Department of Recreation Administration California State University, Fresno

Dr. Jason Whiting is an Associate Professor in the Recreation Administration Department at California State University, Fresno.

Lincoln R. Larson, Department of Parks, Recreation, & Tourism Management, North Carolina State University

Department of Parks, Recreation, & Tourism Management, North Carolina State University

Christopher Greenwood, Department of Psychology, California State University

Department of Psychology, California State University

Samuel Lankford, Department of Recreation Administration, California State University

Department of Recreation Administration, California State University

Published

2020-11-02

Issue

Section

Regular Papers