Large Recreation Group and Party Size Limits


  • John L. Heywood


Recreation group typology, group size, recreation party size, party size limits, optimal party size.


Large group use and party size limitations have become important concerns for managing a variety of recreation resources. Although party size limits have been mentioned as a general management consideration, and applied in a few specific situations, there is disagreement over their usefulness and appropriateness. A conceptual orientation to recreation groups and group sizes is needed so that a policy framework for managing group use can be developed. Theory and research concerning recreation groups, group size, and social density are reviewed to develop a conceptual orientation to the problem. A typology of recreation groups is presented that provides a conceptual basis for considering party size limits. Recreation groups are categorized as primary, collective, or organization. Primary groups consists solely of known others who have a history of reciprocal relationships based upon friendship or familial ties. Collective and organization groups are composed of varying combinations of known and unknown others. Collective groups are short lived, while organization groups form to pursue goals and objectives over a long time, and exhibit greater formality. Three propositions are presented which provide a general framework for considering party size limits as a management objective.





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