Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Recreation Management

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Parks, Tourism, and Recreation Management

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Wayne A. Freimund

Commitee Members

Elizabeth Covelli, Dusten Hollist


coping, Crowding, Glacier, wildife


University of Montana


The results of the ongoing study to monitor visitors use, and the shuttle experience in Glacier National Park demonstrate that use levels in the park have increased considerably. Thus, it was pertinent to evaluate to which extent the conditions on the trails are so undesirable or unexpected for visitors that they would usually employ coping responses to deal with those situations. This research was structured to provide a description of the salient setting attributes and personal factors associated with the identification of the detracting elements of the recreational experiences, and types of coping mechanisms usually used. The study reported here was implemented at four of the most popular trails in GNP: Avalanche Lake, The Loop, Sunrift Gorge, and the Highline trail. A total 765 on-site collected surveys were used for the analysis. Ordinary least squares regression was used to test whether situational and personal factors could predict detracting elements and coping responses. One-way analysis of variance was used to test whether the use of coping mechanisms varied by type of detractor, and by use level. From the overall sample, results indicated that 67% of the respondents experienced “a lot of other hikers” as the most common detracting element (48%), followed by non-natural sounds (42%) and overflights (32%). For hikers experiencing detracting elements, 80% would usually use a coping mechanism to reduce the negative effect of that kind of detractor. Hikers sampled employed different cognitive coping mechanisms. Rationalization and product shift would be used 49% and 47% respectively. Displacement, in the form of seasonal, time of the day, activity or location changes, was also a usual response considered for 47% of the hikers sampled. The results suggested that personal factors were more useful than situational factors to predict detracting elements, especially crowding. The regression models suggested that there is still much of the variance in the use of coping responses that needs to be explained by factors other than the ones used in this study. Furthermore, there was not enough evidence found to support differences in the use of coping responses by use levels and number of detractors. However, encounters with wildlife were found to have incidence in the use of cognitive coping responses.



© Copyright 2013 Diana Maritza Bedoya