Title

Perceptions of Overcrowding in National Parks

Document Type

Poster

Event Website

https://source2022.sched.com/

Start Date

16-5-2022

End Date

16-5-2022

Keywords

Overtourism, Overcrowding, Satisfaction

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to understand what people’s perceptions are towards overcrowding in National Parks, identify what strategies visitors employ to escape overtourism, and explore their thoughts on regulating visitation. Current research and National Park data suggests that recreational visits to National Parks and public lands is increasing. Increased pressures to use public lands threatens their natural integrity and may impact visitor experiences. Data was collected using a questionnaire administered to respondents via Instagram in February 2022. The goal was to obtain responses from students approximately 18 – 24 years of age, who currently attend universities and colleges in Washington state. A total of 42 questionnaires were collected, which included qualitative and quantitative responses about respondent demographics, tourism activities and experiences, perceptions of crowding and permit/reservation systems. Research findings suggest that the primary characteristics of overcrowding are viewed as lack of personal space and difficulty maneuvering around the destination, with 60% of respondents experiencing National Park overcrowding. Avoidance strategies included visiting during off-peak times and respondents favoring a permit/reservation system. This research provides insight into overcrowding in National Parks and the impact on visitor satisfaction and experiences, with consideration of implementing permit/reservation systems to gain access to public lands.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Carla Jellum

Department/Program

Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management

Additional Mentoring Department

Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management

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Perceptions of Overcrowding in National Parks

The purpose of this research is to understand what people’s perceptions are towards overcrowding in National Parks, identify what strategies visitors employ to escape overtourism, and explore their thoughts on regulating visitation. Current research and National Park data suggests that recreational visits to National Parks and public lands is increasing. Increased pressures to use public lands threatens their natural integrity and may impact visitor experiences. Data was collected using a questionnaire administered to respondents via Instagram in February 2022. The goal was to obtain responses from students approximately 18 – 24 years of age, who currently attend universities and colleges in Washington state. A total of 42 questionnaires were collected, which included qualitative and quantitative responses about respondent demographics, tourism activities and experiences, perceptions of crowding and permit/reservation systems. Research findings suggest that the primary characteristics of overcrowding are viewed as lack of personal space and difficulty maneuvering around the destination, with 60% of respondents experiencing National Park overcrowding. Avoidance strategies included visiting during off-peak times and respondents favoring a permit/reservation system. This research provides insight into overcrowding in National Parks and the impact on visitor satisfaction and experiences, with consideration of implementing permit/reservation systems to gain access to public lands.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2022/CEPS/41