Place Attachment and Context: Comparing a Park and a Trail Within

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Abstract:



A number of recent studies have focused on place attachment, defined as the extent to which a person values or identifies with a particular setting. Some studies suggest that place attachment includes an emotional/symbolic “place identity” dimension and a functional “place dependence” dimension. One aspect of place attachment that has not been explored empirically is the extent to which people become attached to a specific site versus its larger setting. The main purpose of this study was to examine users' place attachment to a large metropolitan park versus their place attachment to a particular trail located within that same park. The study sample was comprised of 438 recreational users of a paved trail located in a large regional park near Cleveland, Ohio. Major findings include: (1) Frequency of use was positively related to both park and trail attachment. (2) Levels of trail attachment varied across different trail activities, but levels of park attachment did not. (3) The most powerful predictor of both park attachment and trail attachment was personal commitment to the activity that users were pursuing. (4) –Unlike previous research, factor analyses indicated that both park and trail attachment were unidimensional rather than comprised of place identity and dependence dimensions. Implications for management and research are discussed. FOR. SCI. 49(6):877–884.

Keywords: Place attachment; commitment; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; outdoor recreation; recreation behavior; trails

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Associate Professor Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, College of Natural Resources, North Carolina State University, Box 8004 Raleigh, NC, 27695-8004, Phone: 919-515-3698; Fax: 919-515-3687 Roger_Moore@ncsu.edu 2: Associate Professor Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, 2261 TAMU, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 77843-2261, Phone: (979) 845-5411 dscott@rpts.tamu.edu

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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