Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Recreation Management

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Co-chair

Norma P. Nickerson, Keith Bosak

Commitee Members

Christine Oschell, Dusten Hollist


ecotourism, geotourism, survey instrument, sustainable tourism


University of Montana


Boley, Bertram Bynum, M.S., Spring 2009 Recreation Management Geotourism in the Crown of the Continent: Developing and Testing the Geotourism Survey Instrument (GSI) Co-Chairperson: Norma P. Nickerson Co-Chairperson: Keith Bosak The perceived failures of mass tourism to holistically benefit a destination’s character, has created a global concern for the future of tourism destinations managed under the mass tourism model. This global concern for how tourism can negatively impact a region’s character has manifested itself in the rise of various forms of sustainable tourism such as ecotourism, community-based tourism, integrated rural tourism, and now geotourism. The focus of this study was on geotourism; a niche market segment of sustainable tourism defined by National Geographic as “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of place- its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents” (Stokes, Cook, & Drew, 2003). The purpose of this study was to take this definition of geotourism provided by National Geographic and create a reliable and valid instrument capable of measuring one’s geotouristic tendencies. This study outlines the development of the Geotourism Survey Instrument (GSI) and applies it towards a population of travelers intercepted at various sites on National Geographic’s Crown of the Continent geotourism mapguide for the region of northwest Montana, southwest Alberta, and southeast British Columbia. A second purpose was to determine if visitors to sites on the Crown of the Continent geotourism mapguide were actually geotravelers in their attitudes and behaviors. Overall, 3,608 visitors participated in the study from May 10, 2008 through September 24, 2008. Results of the study indicate that geotravelers are visiting the Crown of the Continent region in high numbers. On a scale from 1-6 with 1 representing a non-geotraveler and 6 representing a perfect geotraveler, the average GSI score was 4.9 indicating that the visitors to the Crown of the Continent share both the attitudes and behaviors of a geotraveler. Statistical results indicate that the GSI and its sub-scales are reliable and valid measurements of the multiple dimensions of geotourism. It is recommended that the GSI be used by other researchers to determine the geotouristic tendencies of visitors to their respective regions.



© Copyright 2009 Bertram Bynum Boley