A Comparative Analysis of White and Black College Students’ Attitudes and Behaviors toward Participating in Wildland Recreation



Wine, Virginia Callie

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Research has noted that Blacks are noticeably absent from wildlands, even in regions of the country where Blacks are highly concentrated. Surveys of public lands and other wildland areas have shown that an overwhelming majority of the recreationists are White. It is suggested that more research is needed in order to understand the visitation, recreation patterns, attitudes and behavior toward participation in natural areas (e.g., wildlands) among Blacks. Using a sample of Black and White students who attend George Mason University as the target population, the purpose of this study was to examine college students' attitudes and behaviors toward participating in wildland recreation, as well as their perceived cause for national low participation trends of Blacks and facilitators to increase their participation rate. A non-experimental convergent parallel mixed methods design was used to assess the attitudes and behavioral differences of students toward wildland recreation using online survey. It was found that Blacks were not absent from wildlands and parks, as literature suggests. However, it was discovered that the majority of Blacks had higher visitation rates in natural areas that were in suburban and urban settings. In comparison, Whites were more likely to visit areas that were more solitude and required specialized equipment, skill-sets, and education.



Wildland recreation, African Americans / blacks in wildlands, Blacks' attitudes and behaviors, Nature-based recreation, Outdoor recreation