Exploring Conflict and Tolerance Between and Within Off-Highway Vehicle Recreationists

Authors

  • Rachel Albritton
  • Taylor V. Stein
  • Brijesh Thapa

Keywords:

off-highway vehicle recreation, conflict, tolerance, goal interference

Abstract

Off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation is currently one of the fastest growing outdoor recreation activities.The increase in participation has created a need to manage for OHV recreation opportunities within a designated system of roads, trails, and areas on public lands. Also, in order to provide opportunities for quality visitor experiences, there is a dire need for additional knowledge about OHV users as it relates to all-terrain vehicle (ATV), off-highway motorcycle (OHM), and four-wheel drive (FWD) user groups. Currently, there is a lack of empirical research that specifically examines similarities and differences between and within the three OHV user groups. Furthermore, there is anecdotal evidence of perceived conflict among the user groups. In order to address this gap in empirical research, the purpose of this exploratory study was to examine if perceived differences exist between and within ATV, OHM, and FWD user groups. A combination of on-site surveys and mail-back questionnaires was used to collect data at Ocala National Forest, Florida. A total of 660 surveys were distributed, and 295 were returned, for a 44.7% response rate. Conflict was likely to be asymmetrical, in which FWD users perceived the most conflict and experienced decreased enjoyment at the recreation site. Also, FWD users demonstrated the lowest tolerance, as they indicated themselves to be different than ATV and OHM user groups. Conversely, ATV users reported the least amount of perceived conflict and held the highest tolerance for out-group members. Tolerance toward in-group members was typically high among the three user groups. Based on the results of this study, conflict intensity was not strong but still demands managerial attention due to the potential for escalation of use in the area. Interpersonal conflict can be addressed by managers through direct or indirect management actions. However, FWD users’ tolerance of other user groups was shown to relate more to perceived conflict than behavioral factors. Two strategies were noted to aid managers to mitigate conflict that relates to tolerance: separate users (i.e., zoning), and 55 provide opportunities for education and communication. This research offered a first step in the comprehensive assessment of conflict and tolerance for lifestyle diversity between and within OHV users.?

Published

2009-10-18

Issue

Section

Regular Papers