USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station
Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Research Topics

Recreation: Communication

A series of studies on techniques of communication in natural resources will be conducted, with the end goal of matching techniques to varying and diverse publics. Communication networks, information needs, and interpretation and environmental education services will be examined in order to understand their operation and the implications for agency-public communication.

Studies Related to this Topic:
Using Normative Messages to Reduce Off-Trail Hiking

This study examined the effectiveness of normative messages in reducing off-trail use. The study was based on the focus theory of normative conduct, which states that norms influence behavior when they are salient to an individual. It was a follow-up to a series of studies conducted in collaboration with Bob Cialdini and colleagues at Arizona State University. In this study the impact of the framing of normative messages was examined through signs posted along trails in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Messages were aimed at encouraging visitors to stay on the established trails.

A Review and Analysis of Five OHV Communication Programs

This study looked at five off-highway vehicle (OHV) communication and education programs that provide educational programs and messages designed to affect OHV drivers' environmental ethics and behaviors. The study was conducted by Dale Blahna, Doug Reiter and Angie Cannon of Utah State University and Jim Absher of the PSW Station.

Getting Forest Service Messages out to a Diverse Public

Recreationists visiting National Forest lands are more likely to be White than any other ethnic or racial group. There are a number of reasons for this disparity in use levels, including a lack of information about outdoor recreational opportunities. This study examined the use of various forms of media, including sources most used and most trusted for information regarding natural resource opportunities from a sample of residents in the Los Angeles basin.

Environmental Risk Communication

An annotated bibliography focusing on environmental risk communication was recently completed through cooperative agreement between Decision Research (a non-profit research institute based in Eugene, Oregon) and PSW. Authored by Joseph Arvai, Robyn Wilson, Louis Rivers and Ann Froschauer, the document summarizes 153 citations from the literatures on risk research, stakeholder involvement, decision science and risk management.

Gifford Pinchot National Forest: Evaluation of International Symbols

This research evaluated the comprehension of International Symbols (graphical symbols depicting ideas without words) on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest (GPNF) in Washington State. Thirteen of the 20 symbols in the study were considered well-understood, that is, these need no further management action. Two moderately understood symbols probably need modification to clarify the intended message. The misunderstood symbols may require major modification or discontinued use on the GPNF.

Interpretation Effectiveness at Taylor Creek Visitor Center

This report was on interpretation effectiveness at Taylor Creek Visitor Center (TCVC), Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. The objectives included socio-demographic characteristics, an assessment of interpretive needs, preferences and expectations, and measures of sign use and visitor satisfaction. The data were analyzed to evaluate the overall effectiveness of two separate interpretive trails (Smokey's and Rainbow), the Information Building, and the Stream Profile Chamber.

International Symbols in Southern California

The goal of this research was to evaluate the comprehension of International Symbols (graphical symbols depicting ideas without words) used at day-use sites on two southern California National Forests. International Symbols selected included those from the usual available sources as well as seven Forest-produced symbols. Only 11 of the 20 symbols in the study were considered well-understood, three were moderately understood, and six were misunderstood.

Effectiveness of Visitor Information Programs in Giant Sequoia National Monument

The study focus was on program effectiveness and use of information services at Giant Sequoia and Black Bear Campground. The data also suggest that the managers may be able to use information sources, including campground programs, maps, signs, web sites, and nature trails to increase visitor knowledge and appreciation of how forest management can improve the health of Giant Sequoia groves.

Last Modified: Aug 29, 2016 11:03:30 AM