Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Day Hikers' Pre-hike Self-reported Reasons for, and Post-hike Effects of Hiking in the Arizona Wilderness
by Bittner, Andrew John, M.A., Prescott College, 2013, 179; 1549985
Abstract (Summary)

This study is an exploratory phenomenological investigation into wilderness users' self-reports about their wilderness experience in two wilderness areas in the Verde Valley, located in north central Arizona. The research inquiry states: What are wilderness users' self-reported reasons for exploring the wilderness, and what effects do they (the users) report after their explorations? The research inquiry strives to investigate the phenomenon that surrounds the wilderness experience and visitors' reasons for their explorations in the wilderness. The data were collected on three weekends in March 2013 at three different trailheads located on the wilderness boundaries of Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness and Sycamore Canyon Wilderness. Over 200 participants contributed data. The data were collected using a demographic form, a questionnaire, and one open-ended interview question. Results from the research found that 88% of participants in the research hold a college education or higher. Over 25% of the participants went to the wilderness areas for the natural environment, which includes the climate, terrain, and rocks. All participants commented on one of the five themes as effects the wilderness had upon them. The five themes were spiritual connectedness, acknowledgement of physical beauty, emotional expression of self, awareness of physical impact, and psychological translation of well-being. Over fifty years of wilderness visitor research supported these research findings. In addition, results, recommendations, limitations, and conclusions are drawn from the research that supported current trends and establishes new ones. The research is built upon pervious wilderness visitor research, and provides a foundation for future research to continue.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stuckey, James
Commitee: Mitten, Denise, Nash, Roderick
School: Prescott College
Department: Adventure Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 52/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental education, Recreation
Keywords: Phenomenological research, Red rock-secret mountain wilderness, Spiritual, Wilderness phenomenon, Wilderness visitor research
Publication Number: 1549985
ISBN: 978-1-303-63414-7
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