Date of Award

6-2009

Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management

Department

Natural Resources Management

Advisor

William Hendricks

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to assess Mount San Jacinto State Park visitor attributes, visit attributes, preferences, and perceptions. Visitor surveys were conducted at two predetermined points within Mount San Jacinto State Park Wilderness Area, the entrance to Long Valley and adjacent to the Long Valley Ranger Station, during summer 2008. Three hundred and seventy-eight subjects completed one of the two visitor surveys (97.68% response rate), 256 (67.7%) completed the Long Valley Survey and 122 (32.3%) completed the Wilderness Survey. The subjects were mostly male, married, from California, and White or Latino/Hispanic. The average age was 45 years old with some college education and relatively high levels of income (42.4% reported annual household incomes above $100,000). The mean number of previous park visits was 15 and the subjects visited the park an average of 3.74 times in 2008. The amount of time spent in the wilderness was an average of 4.68 hours. Most visitors participated in photography, wildlife viewing, shopping at the gift shop, bird watching, visiting the visitor center, eating at the snack bar, and hiking. The subjects agreed that conditions in the park are safe and that there are adequate ranger patrols. Wilderness visitors had significantly higher agreement scores for adequate ranger patrols, too many people at Mountain Station, and that they prefer to see fewer people in the park. The overall crowding mean score was slightly below “somewhat crowded” with Wilderness visitors reporting significantly higher levels of crowding than Long Valley visitors. Visitor perceptions of problems in the park were rated “not a problem” for all items; however, Wilderness visitors perceived encounters of large groups on a trail and restrooms needing cleaning to be more of a problem than was perceived by Long Valley visitors. Worn trails, side trails, and erosion along trails were the conditions most noticed by the subjects. Significantly more Wilderness visitors than Long Valley visitors noticed erosion along trails and tree root exposure on trails.

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