Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version



DaRugna OA, Kaemingk MA, Chizinski CJ, Pope KL (2022) Heterogeneity of recreationists in a park and protected area. PLoS ONE 17(5): e0268303. pone.0268303


The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.


Limited information and resources have caused many parks and protected areas (PPAs) to functionally manage recreationists as a single homogeneous group, despite potential negative social and ecological consequences. We aimed to evaluate the homogeneity of recreationists at the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) by 1) quantifying frequencies of consumptive (i.e., hunting), intermediate-consumptive (i.e., fishing), and non-consumptive recreational-activity groups (e.g., wildlife viewing), and 2) evaluating sociodemographic differences among these groups. We used onsite surveys to determine that Valentine NWR supports heterogeneous groups of recreationists. The intermediate-consumptive group was most frequent (77% of all parties). All three recreational-activity groups varied in party size, distance traveled, household income, population type (urban or rural residence), and vehicle type (two-wheel or four-wheel drive). Tracking and accounting for diverse recreationists will equip managers with the ability to sustain recreational activities while also preserving ecological systems.