There are over 650 million acres of federal public lands in the United States that allow access to nature. Public lands are utilized for a variety of different activities, ranging from preservation to resource extraction. Regardless of proximity, public lands belong to everyone in the United Sates. From January to August 2016, I opportunistically and purposively collected sixteen interviews in Arizona, a state with 38.5% federal public lands, and sixteen in Texas (1.5% federal public lands), to document attitudes, opinions, and ideas about public lands in the United States. Conducting such interviews provides insight into the many different perspectives that people from different areas and backgrounds have about public land, and also acts as a medium for outreach and education. Although the data collected is not representative, it exemplifies different opinions that exist in regards to public land. Opinions such as these can affect management policy and inform how people advocate for public lands now and in the future. I attempted to capture candid responses from the interviewees utilizing an open-ended interview guide to elicit the interviewee’s emotions, reactions, attitudes, and opinions towards public lands. All interviewees appreciated access to nature through public lands regardless of their experience with or knowledge about them. Most interviewees were familiar with national parks, but not all knew about national forests, national wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, or the national system of public lands. Several themes emerged, including issues of access, extractive industries such as grazing and mining, and discussions of federal versus state management.
|Commitee:||Ferguson, Mike, Sherman, Peter|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social research, Environmental Studies, Natural Resource Management|
|Keywords:||Narratives, National park, Oral history, Public land, Public opinion, Public perception|
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