The current ethnic population coupled with higher birth rates and immigration will dramatically affect participation in outdoor recreation. Recreation area managers must be able to decipher current and potential visitors' needs and motivations for visiting. This article examines various aspects of information use and search behaviors among National Forest visitors, notably among various ethnic groups and types of users. Uses and gratifications (U&G) theory was used as the basis for identification of relevant uses of Forest Service Information. Consistent with previous studies, Whites generally reported using all available information sources to a greater extent than Hispanics or Other Minority Groups. Hispanics were least likely to approach rangers or employees for information, and Other Minority Groups were least likely to pay attention to bulletin boards. Flyers and brochures were among the most frequently used information sources for all ethnic groups. Whites were more likely to seek out information for orientation and educational purposes, while Hispanics attributed more importance to instrumental uses, like seeking information about parking facilities, permits and operating hours. An attempt was made to adapt communication theories to the field of outdoor recreation. Future research should expand upon the U&G theory due to its importance and applicability in the field of outdoor recreation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management