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Implications of Setting Preference Differences by Race and Gender on the Applicability of a Benefits-Based Management Approach to Recreational Planning

Leslie Grill, Wayde C. Morse, John Schelhas, Becky Barlow, Miriam Wyman


Individuals recreate to realize desired experiences or benefits. When used for recreational planning, benefits-based management (BBM) is an approach that focuses on understanding and managing for the beneficial outcomes of recreational experiences. Outcome focused management (OFM) builds on this to understand the larger system of recreation facilitation and the wider range of outcomes beyond the individual recreational experience. The challenge for outdoor recreation managers is to determine which outcomes are desired by visitors and work to provide appropriate setting and activity opportunities to help them realize those outcomes. Linking setting characteristics to benefits is complicated by the fact that recreationists are not a homogeneous group. Research has been conducted on different activity and setting preferences, motivations, and constraints to outdoor recreation, comparing and contrasting race and gender differences. However, how desired benefits are linked to specific recreation setting characteristics remains poorly understood. Furthermore, studies of recreation opportunity settings often involve a generalized spectrum without addressing many setting characteristics that are important for an increasingly diverse public. 

Our study addresses these research needs by investigating the urban demand for private land recreation and the differences in this demand between race and gender groups within the southeastern U.S. Variables of race (African American/Caucasian) and gender (male/female) were analyzed by motivations (beneficial outcome sought), activity preference, preferred setting characteristics, and constraints. Results show that both females and African Americans place greater importance on the more developed setting aspects of the outdoor recreation experience. Furthermore, while the motivations (beneficial outcomes sought) for the different groups were largely consistent, many of the setting characteristics needed to achieve those same benefits were found to be significantly different across gender and race. This study indicates that management should consider an enlarged conception of important setting characteristics to better understand diverse audiences. More investigation is needed regarding how desired benefits are linked to specific recreation settings across user groups. 

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Race; Gender; Beneficial Outcomes; Outdoor Recreation; Planning

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