Presenter Information

Taylor Watson, University of Wyoming

Department

Communication and Journalism Department

First Advisor

Dr. Ashley Muddiman

Description

When humans interact with nature and are not mindful of their actions, the negative consequences can be irreversible. The goal of this research project was to determine how Curt Gowdy State Park visitors are encouraged to respect a natural area. While environmental stewardship is important in all natural areas, Curt Gowdy Park should be particularly interested in conveying information on to its guests because of the recent visitor growth it has experienced. In the past 10 years, visitation has tripled due to Curt Gowdy’s popular mountain biking trails, making the task of educating visitors about their environmental impact even more relevant for the park. The chosen data gathering method was statistical analysis, using a codebook in order to evaluate the park’s visitor communication plan. The codebook for the analysis contained the seven main Leave No Trace principles, as well as detailed subsections of each principle. Data was gathered at main locations where visitors look for information, including the visitor center, trail map, and website, and then evaluated based on how well each location communicated the Leave No Trace principles to guests.

Comments

Oral Presentation, Honors Program

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Environmental Communication Audit of Curt Gowdy State Park

When humans interact with nature and are not mindful of their actions, the negative consequences can be irreversible. The goal of this research project was to determine how Curt Gowdy State Park visitors are encouraged to respect a natural area. While environmental stewardship is important in all natural areas, Curt Gowdy Park should be particularly interested in conveying information on to its guests because of the recent visitor growth it has experienced. In the past 10 years, visitation has tripled due to Curt Gowdy’s popular mountain biking trails, making the task of educating visitors about their environmental impact even more relevant for the park. The chosen data gathering method was statistical analysis, using a codebook in order to evaluate the park’s visitor communication plan. The codebook for the analysis contained the seven main Leave No Trace principles, as well as detailed subsections of each principle. Data was gathered at main locations where visitors look for information, including the visitor center, trail map, and website, and then evaluated based on how well each location communicated the Leave No Trace principles to guests.