Public and Commercial Managers Predicting Recreationist Opinions


  • James D. Absher
  • Leo H. McAvoy
  • Rabel J. Burdge
  • James H. Gramann


Resource management, user opinions, commercial versus public, proxy analysis, shared perceptions.


This paper explores and assesses the accuracy of readily available proxy groups as "stand-ins" for clients in the management decisionmaking process. Resource managers (public-sector employees) and owners and operators of commercial recreation services (mostly small business persons) were asked to give their own opinions on selected resource management issues, as well as their predictions of how recreationists would stand on the same issues. The actual opinions of recreationists were then compared to these manager/provider views and predictions.Managers of public recreation facilities were .somewhat more accurate than commercial reflecting users' positions. However, the results of this study indicate that neither proxy type nor proxy group is a strong predictor of user opinion on general or specific recreation resource management issues. The implication is that recreationist opinions are a vital part of the planning/management process not only for political reasons, but also because resource managers cannot predict accurately the opinions of recreational users.





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