THE EFFECT OF SOUND AND CROWDING ON TOURIST EXPERIENCES IN A NATIONAL PARK SETTING

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Abstract

Understanding tourist experiences in national parks can assist park managers in meeting the goal of preserving resources while providing opportunities for enjoyment of them. In an effort to contribute to this understanding, this study focused on the effect of human sound and crowding conditions in a national park setting. Previous studies of sound in national park and wildland settings have focused primarily on sounds of aircraft or other mechanically-produced sounds. For this study, a multi-sensory research approach, based on visual methods for studying crowding, was developed to investigate the acceptability of varying sound and crowding levels in a slot canyon in Zion National Park, Utah. Results indicate that both sound level and the number of people have an effect on setting acceptability, with sounds perhaps having the larger effect of the two. The multi-sensory research approach provided valuable information about the acceptability of social conditions in a specific area. Similar studies conducted in the field may provide national park managers with useful information about social conditions in other areas which will allow for better-informed management decisions related to tourist experiences in national parks.

 

THE EFFECT OF SOUND AND CROWDING ON TOURIST EXPERIENCES IN A NATIONAL PARK SETTING

Understanding tourist experiences in national parks can assist park managers in meeting the goal of preserving resources while providing opportunities for enjoyment of them. In an effort to contribute to this understanding, this study focused on the effect of human sound and crowding conditions in a national park setting. Previous studies of sound in national park and wildland settings have focused primarily on sounds of aircraft or other mechanically-produced sounds. For this study, a multi-sensory research approach, based on visual methods for studying crowding, was developed to investigate the acceptability of varying sound and crowding levels in a slot canyon in Zion National Park, Utah. Results indicate that both sound level and the number of people have an effect on setting acceptability, with sounds perhaps having the larger effect of the two. The multi-sensory research approach provided valuable information about the acceptability of social conditions in a specific area. Similar studies conducted in the field may provide national park managers with useful information about social conditions in other areas which will allow for better-informed management decisions related to tourist experiences in national parks.