Presentation Title

Grizzly Politics: Assessing Stakeholder Trust and Conflict in Outdoor Recreation Management on the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Jennifer Thomsen

Category

Social Sciences/Humanities

Abstract/Artist Statement

The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (PNT) traverses from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean. The portion of the trail in Northwest Montana and Idaho is the nexus of a complex conflict involving outdoor recreation, wildlife conservation, and social-cultural values. This study investigated the conflict through a qualitative exploration of trust among PNT stakeholders. We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with purposively sampled stakeholders representing the diversity of interests. Results suggest stakeholders had varying dispositional, affinitive, rational, and procedural trusts. Dispositional and procedural distrust was placed on executive and legislative branches of federal government. Regular collaboration resulted in higher rational and affinitive trusts, whereas distrusts resulted from perceived misalignment of stated goals and actions. These findings emphasize the importance of strengthening various dimensions of trust to ameliorate conflict. Key insights are discussed for navigating conflicts involving outdoor recreation and long-distance trails that transcend jurisdictional boundaries and diverse social-ecological landscapes.

Mentor Name

Jennifer Thomsen

Personal Statement

Outdoor recreation on protected lands is not just my area of academic and professional interest, it is at the core of my being. I grew up learning and playing on public lands and continue to enjoy various outdoor recreation activities whenever I have spare moments in my personal life. These experiences have given me so much humility and gratitude for how I fit into the world. In the U.S., public lands serve a wide diversity of people and purposes. I believe that access to and management of public lands can help restore a sense of humility and common purpose around which people of all beliefs can come together—which I feel is somewhat lacking in our society today. Trust and stakeholder collaboration in public land management is essential if this space is to be a common ground for collaboration and conservation for all U.S. residents. If we can work through conflicts related to natural resources and collaborate effectively, hopefully we can move forward in a more united way in other aspects of politics and governance. Lessons learned from natural resource stakeholder trust, conflict, and collaboration cases, such as the case research presented here, can be applied to other areas of governance.

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Grizzly Politics: Assessing Stakeholder Trust and Conflict in Outdoor Recreation Management on the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail

UC 327

The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (PNT) traverses from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean. The portion of the trail in Northwest Montana and Idaho is the nexus of a complex conflict involving outdoor recreation, wildlife conservation, and social-cultural values. This study investigated the conflict through a qualitative exploration of trust among PNT stakeholders. We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with purposively sampled stakeholders representing the diversity of interests. Results suggest stakeholders had varying dispositional, affinitive, rational, and procedural trusts. Dispositional and procedural distrust was placed on executive and legislative branches of federal government. Regular collaboration resulted in higher rational and affinitive trusts, whereas distrusts resulted from perceived misalignment of stated goals and actions. These findings emphasize the importance of strengthening various dimensions of trust to ameliorate conflict. Key insights are discussed for navigating conflicts involving outdoor recreation and long-distance trails that transcend jurisdictional boundaries and diverse social-ecological landscapes.