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What are people doing in our parks? Understanding, comparing, and predicting the low-impact camping practices of Canadian Provincial Park over-night visitors Open Access


Other title
Leave No Trace
Outdoor Recreation
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Blye, Clara-Jane E
Supervisor and department
Halpenny, Elizabeth (Physical Education and Recreation)
Examining committee member and department
Harshaw, Howie ((Physical Education and Recreation)
Hvenegaard, Glen (Geography and Environmental Studies)
Physical Education and Recreation
Recreation and Leisure Studies
Date accepted
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Master of Arts
Degree level
Canadian provincial parks attract millions of visitors every year; and while these visitors come to parks to enjoy their natural beauty, experience cultural and natural heritage, and participate in outdoor recreation they are also simultaneously having a negative impact on the park ecosystems. Damage is being done to soil, vegetation, animals, waterways, and more. There is not much of our Canadian park system that is not affected by human interactions. However, there are strategies in place to help mitigate these negative effects, and management approaches which help to educate park visitors on how to reduce their impact. Such strategies include visitor education programs like Leave No Trace [LNT]. LNT is a widely accepted educational program that seeks to reduce environmentally depreciative behaviours and promote responsible outdoor recreation through low-impact camping practices. The purpose of this thesis was to investigate how LNT was understood and engaged by Canadian provincial parks users. The aim was to investigate which factors best predicted engagement in LNT as well investigate park users (front country vs. backcountry) engagement in LNT practices. In addition this thesis explored the LNT practices and environmental world views of park users in two geographically distinct provincial parks to determine if there was a difference between visitors to these different parks. The two parks examined were Algonquin Provincial Park (APP) in Ontario and Peter Lougheed Provincial Park (PLPP) in Alberta. These parks are culturally comparable, have high visitation numbers, offer similar front country and back country camping opportunities, and provide a broad representation of visitors to provincial parks in Canada. Data was collected using a survey questionnaire administered on Android tablets and paper. Surveys were collected at trail heads, campsites, permit offices, and visitor information centres. This resulted in 456 respondents, 229 visitors in Alberta and 227 in Ontario. The first study examined the LNT knowledge and environmental world views of overnight park visitors and compared front country and back country users as well as APP and PLPP visitors. T-tests were employed to determine if there were statistical differences (p
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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