Examining the racial/ethnic groups subcultural differences in terms of visitation of national parks

Authors: Zongrui Liu*, Arizona State University, Junyu Lu, Arizona State University, Xiao Xiao, Arizona State University
Topics: Recreational and Sport Geography
Keywords: Racial/Ethnic minority group, national park, recreation activities, vacation destinations
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


National parks preserve the most important natural and cultural landscapes for general public enjoyment. With the continuous expansion of minority populations compared with traditional Whites, National Park Service (NPS) needs to focus on increasing social diversity in national parks. Research of racial/ethnic diversity in parks and protected areas generally focuses on outdoor recreation activities constraints by racial/ethnic groups, yet studies about recreation activities and preferences of recreation facilities among racial/ethnic groups in national parks are limited. This study collected data from onsite visitor surveys at five national parks in the US, ranging from urban to rural NPS units. Study results indicated Hispanics and Blacks were more likely to visit culture-oriented parks, and learning about history and culture could add more enjoyment in NPS units for Blacks than Hispanics and Whites. The participated recreation activities in NPS units varied significantly among three racial/ethnic groups. Study also found that Hispanics and Blacks rated the highest desirability for historical places as vacation destinations whereas Whites rated the highest desirability for nature-based destinations. These results show that it is necessary to provide a range of recreational opportunities for different recreational needs, resonating with the subculture and discrimination hypotheses. Results also suggest that enhancing the awareness of NPS units, diversifying recreational experiences and the entertainment needs for racial/ethnic minority groups is beneficial for satisfying the different demands in distinguished types of national parks for diversified population structures.

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