Recreation: Changing Research Patterns
Major Research Initiatives
National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council Members
The following reports results from a day use visitor contact study conducted on two planning places on the Angeles National Forest in summer 2004: the Angeles High Country and San Gabriel Canyon. Data were collected from 137 recreationists.
Most day use visitors at these planning places were white or Latino, and most were U.S.-born. Average age of respondents was 37 years, and they reported an average 13 years of education. Most of these day use visitors were recreating with family and friends, were on a visit of more than six hours, were repeat visitors, and planned return visits to the forest. Usual recreation activities were picnicking/barbecuing, driving for pleasure, day hiking, camping, stream play, watching wildlife, sightseeing, and off-highway vehicle riding. On the day contacted, most respondents were on a picnic/barbecue trip, day hiking, or were off-highway vehicle riding.
Day use visitors had interest in informational talks given by Angeles National Forest employees (especially about "animals and their habitats" and "local mountain history"). Most respondents heard about the Angeles National Forest from word-of-mouth sources (typically friends and family). Preferred sources of on-site information included brochures, signs along the road, and bulletin boards. Day use visitors wanted more information about the best times to visit the area to avoid crowds, camping in the area, picnic/barbecue areas, safety in the area, rare types of plants and animals, things to see and do, and hiking in the area.
Preferred day use site attributes included trash cans, parking areas, water faucets, and picnicking areas. Respondents also preferred easy to walk and also somewhat challenging trails that take 15 minutes to about an hour to hike. Day use visitors were bothered by problems such as litter on roads and picnic sites, drawing and graffiti on natural and man-made structures, and carving of names, initials or messages on trees.
Managers of these planning places can use the results of this report in several ways. First the demographics suggest a mixed white and Latino clientele, suggesting a need to serve both groups. Communication plans should be developed with a mixed clientele in mind. There are many opportunities to communicate with forest visitors on-site ranging from ranger-led activities to brochures, signs along the road, and notes on bulletin boards with information on best times to visit the area to avoid crowds, camping in the area, picnic/barbecue areas, safety in the area, rare types of plants and animals, things to see and do, and hiking in the area. Development preferences suggest there are particular facilities and amenities (such as trash cans, parking areas, water faucets, and picnic sites) that visitors desired and a focus on these will be beneficial to the forest and the visitors. Visitors were especially concerned about litter and graffiti so attention to these issues will further enhance their visits to the Angeles National Forest.
Publications and Products related to this subject:
Chavez, D.J.; Olson, D.D. 2005. Day use of National Forest series: The Angeles National Forest Southern California Planning Places, 2004. Unpublished report. Riverside, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. 58 p.
Research conducted by: