Relationship between Visitors’ Sense of Place, Recreation Behavior, and Acceptability of Resource Allocation Strategies at a Reservoir Facing a Water Crisis


  • Zack D. Darby University of Tennessee
  • Neelam Chandra Poudyal University of Tennessee
  • Adam Frakes Oklahoma State University
  • Omkar Joshi Oklahoma State University



water level, place attachment, resource allocation, public acceptability


Municipal drawdowns at public reservoirs can negatively impact recreational uses on site. Therefore, sustaining recreation requires understanding how users relate themselves with the reservoir and the resource therein, and how they will respond to circumstances and policies impacting the resource. Researchers use placedbased theory, particularly sense of place (SOP), to assess the user community’s perspective on the natural resource or recreation site of interest. This study utilized visitor survey data (n=282) from Canton Reservoir in Oklahoma to assess visitors’ sense of place (SOP), and to evaluate the relationship of SOP with their acceptability of alternative water allocation strategies and future intention of visiting the reservoir under depleted water conditions. Visitors had a high level of SOP with the reservoir and supported protective water allocation strategies that either favor the retention of water on-site or ensure a fair distribution between recreation and municipal use. Results suggest a positive relationship between visitors' SOP and their intended trips to the reservoir even under depleted water conditions. The findings highlight the psychological, functional, and emotional benefits associated with the recreational use of the Canton Reservoir, which will in turn help managers make more informed and balanced decisions about water conservation and allocation. Insights from this study will also contribute in literature on the sense of place and protective norms and offers several implications for the management of public reservoirs.





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