Patterns of Human/Nature Interaction through Wildlife-Oriented Outdoor Recreation Participation

Authors: Keith Henderson*, Villanova University
Topics: Environment, Recreational and Sport Geography
Keywords: Connectedness to Nature, Outdoor Recreation, Wildlife Viewing
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Exposure to nature is believed to benefit both humans (sense of well-being) and the environment (support for conservation). Direct interaction between people and wildlife/lands creates a stronger commitment toward environmental protection. While some theory holds that this connection arises from any exposure to ‘nature’, others argue that stronger bonds are more place-based and more strongly formed at specific, familiar locations. This research investigates patterns of wildlife-oriented recreation access and participation rates at the national, state, and local scales. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regularly surveys residents’ participation in wildlife recreation via hunting, fishing, and viewing. The percentage of Americans engaged in wildlife viewing has generally been decreasing over recent decades but increased sharply in the most recent census, especially in regions like the mid-Atlantic. In Pennsylvania more people interact with wildlife through birding, photography, and feeding activities than hunting and fishing combined. Recent increases in these activities have occurred both at home and away from home. In rapidly growing parts of the state, wildlife-oriented recreation opportunities exist at township, regional, and state-run parks and preservation areas. Local case studies illustrate differing access patterns and nature opportunities in these types of local recreation places.

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