Eastern Kentucky University

Poster Title

Evaluating Environmental Education Programing: A Case Study at the Red River Gorge, Kentucky

Institution

Eastern Kentucky University

Abstract

All park systems face many different management issues including environmental aspects and visitor experience aspects. Environmental aspects would include the effects of visitor use in the designated area such as trail erosion and loss of plant and wildlife. While visitor aspects focus on aspects such as the visitors experience while visiting the park. One common way to find out if a park system is meeting the management needs is to perform surveys. These surveys can consist of oral or written surveys and/or observations. The purpose of this research is to determine if a correlation between visitor knowledge of reasonable impact levels (the management issues) and visitor education levels exists, based on quantitative and qualitative data. The researchers surveyed the visitors within the Red River Gorge over a period of four weekends resulting in a total of 500 surveys. The researchers analyzed visitor knowledge (management issues and visitor awareness of the issues) and the visitors’ demographics (information including: sex, income, age, and education level). The researchers suspect that higher education levels offer more knowledge the visitor will have on reasonable impacts of visitor use within the designated recreational area (Red River Gorge). This will help determine the efficiency of parks and recreation management practices, when it comes to the “average” visitor. The parks system (Red River Gorge) will then understand how to better address the “average” visitor when it comes to park management.

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Evaluating Environmental Education Programing: A Case Study at the Red River Gorge, Kentucky

All park systems face many different management issues including environmental aspects and visitor experience aspects. Environmental aspects would include the effects of visitor use in the designated area such as trail erosion and loss of plant and wildlife. While visitor aspects focus on aspects such as the visitors experience while visiting the park. One common way to find out if a park system is meeting the management needs is to perform surveys. These surveys can consist of oral or written surveys and/or observations. The purpose of this research is to determine if a correlation between visitor knowledge of reasonable impact levels (the management issues) and visitor education levels exists, based on quantitative and qualitative data. The researchers surveyed the visitors within the Red River Gorge over a period of four weekends resulting in a total of 500 surveys. The researchers analyzed visitor knowledge (management issues and visitor awareness of the issues) and the visitors’ demographics (information including: sex, income, age, and education level). The researchers suspect that higher education levels offer more knowledge the visitor will have on reasonable impacts of visitor use within the designated recreational area (Red River Gorge). This will help determine the efficiency of parks and recreation management practices, when it comes to the “average” visitor. The parks system (Red River Gorge) will then understand how to better address the “average” visitor when it comes to park management.