ARRC Areas of Research Expertise
Recreation Needs Assessment Research
 

Successful park and recreation agencies must keep up with the demands of their community and make every effort to tailor their services to meet community needs (National Recreation and Park Association, 2016). Engaging the public through a formal needs assessment process provides valuable information that agencies can use to drive future planning efforts.  Obtaining input from the public on their wants, needs, and priorities helps to ensure that citizen voices are incorporated into facility and program development, and keep the public well-informed of agency decision-making. Findings are communicated via technical reports, peer-reviewed scientific journals, and outreach presentations.

Selected Ongoing and Recent Recreation Needs Assessments Research

  • Wakefield (NH) Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment

  • Standish (ME) Multigenerational Indoor Community Center Needs Assessment

  • Burlington (MA) Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment

  • York (ME) Multigenerational Indoor Community Center Needs Assessment

 
Recreation Program Evaluation Research

In the eyes of decision-makers, recreation programs that are worthy of support are those that show credible evidence of success.  Success may be determined by hitting specific performance targets such as number of participants, memberships sold, amount of engagement, or level of satisfaction.  Success may also be determined by what is changed as a result of program participation, such as increased health, lower juvenile crime rates, higher economic activity, or enhanced knowledge.  Program evaluation studies give decision-makers data that can be used to justify, expand, or improve programs. Findings are communicated via technical reports, peer-reviewed scientific journals, and outreach presentations.

Selected Ongoing and Recent Recreation Program Evaluation Research

  • EPIC Summer Camp Evaluation, 2018

  • Clemson Sustainable Communities Project - Program Evaluation

  • Greenville (SC) HOPE VI Report - Phase I

  • Greenville (SC) HOPE VI Report - Phase 2

Economic Impact and Value Research
 

Recreation is one of the largest and most critical economic sectors in the United States. Providing current, credible, and comprehensive economic data to resource managers, stakeholders, and policy makers is critical to the sustained health of recreation resources. These studies assess the economic impact and value of recreation resources through the collection and analyses of both primary and secondary data sources. These studies include the direct, indirect, and induced effects of recreation expenditures upon host economies. Study findings and management implications are thoroughly communicated via technical reports, outreach presentations, and publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

 

Selected Ongoing and Recent Economic Impact and Value Research

  • National Visitor Use Monitoring - White Mountain National Forest 

  • National Visitor Use Monitoring - Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests

  • The Economic Impact and Value of the Lake Erie Recreational Angling Industry  

 
Visitor Use Management and Monitoring Research

Providing current, credible, and comprehensive visitor use management and monitoring data to resource managers, stakeholders, and policy makers is critical to the visitor experience as well as the sustained health of recreation resources. These studies assess the overall visitation, visitor use, and social carrying capacity of recreation resources through the collection and analyses of both primary and secondary data sources. These studies include the examination of user perceptions, behaviors, and management preferences in relation to actual use measures. Study findings and management implications are thoroughly communicated via technical reports, outreach presentations, and publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

 

Selected Ongoing and Recent Visitor Use Management and Monitoring Research

  • National Visitor Use Monitoring - White Mountain National Forest 

  • National Visitor Use Monitoring - Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests

  • Assessing Visitor Use Management in the Lye Brook Wilderness Area of the Green Mountain National Forest

  • Informing Visitor Use Management and Displacement on the White Mountain National Forest

  • Informing Visitor Use Management and Climate Change in the Great Bay Estuary

  • Informing Visitor Use Management in College Woods  

Energy Development Research
 

Much of the ongoing and proposed energy infrastructure within the United States is located either within or adjacent to public lands, waters, and protected areas, raising concerns about the potential social, environmental, and infrastructure impacts upon recreation stakeholders. These impacts are of paramount concern for recreation resource managers as recreationists often alter their experiences within the presence of encroaching energy development. These studies assess recreation stakeholders’ perception, attitudes, and behaviors towards both renewable (e.g., offshore wind) and non-renewable (e.g., natural gas extraction) forms of energy development within public lands, waters, and protected areas. These studies inform energy policy and regulation at multiple levels of governance while highlighting the importance of assessing and communicating recreation experience and use impacts when planning, developing, and managing energy development and related decisions in the United States. Study findings and management implications are thoroughly communicated via technical reports, outreach presentations, and publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

 

Selected Ongoing and Recent Energy Development Research

  • Recreationists’ Perceptions of Offshore Wind Energy Development in New Hampshire

  • Informing State Forests Visitors’ Natural Gas Impact Thresholds

  • The Effects of Offshore Wind Energy Development on Lake Erie Outdoor Recreationists

 
Climate Change Research

Recreation opportunities are often dependent upon relatively stable and predictable climatic and environmental conditions. As global climate change continues to develop, regional and local climatic conditions are becoming increasingly variable. Recreation resource managers, stakeholders, and policy makers are facing difficult decisions regarding how to plan for and manage recreation settings impacted by global climate change. These studies assess recreation stakeholders’ perception, attitudes, and visitation patterns in response to altered climatic and environmental conditions within recreation settings. These studies assess the impact of environmental conditions such as E. coli, algal blooms, and lake and snow level fluctuations upon the recreation experience. Study findings and management implications are thoroughly communicated via technical reports, outreach presentations, and publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

 

Selected Ongoing and Recent Global Climate Change Research

  • Informing Visitor Use Management and Climate Change in the Great Bay Estuary

  • The Effects of Environmental Conditions on Lake Erie Outdoor Recreationists

Contact Information

Dept of Recreation Management and Policy
4 Library Way-193 Hewitt Hall

Durham, NH 03823

Phone: (603) 862-1644

Michael.Ferguson@unh.edu

Bob.Barcelona@unh.edu