Sharing findings at The Academy of Leisure Sciences 2020 Conference

Evan Salcido presenting findings at TALS 2020

The University of Illinois recently hosted the 2020 Academy of Leisure Sciences’ Conference on Research and Teaching, and our team was eager to make our presence felt. Team member Evan Salcido presented research examining the relationship between values assigned to features of the park landscape, and the behavioral activities of park visitors. Drawing from an on-site survey conducted in 2016, this research indicated that park visitors most heavily value the park as a pristine wilderness area with high ecological integrity, and intended to act more pro-environmentally than they reportedly had prior to visiting Denali. Understanding how values relate to behavior before and after visiting the park is key to understanding pro-environmental behavior in protected areas, and to insuring outdoor recreation opportunities and landscape integrity.

Ben Leitshcuh sharing results about subsistence in Denali

Meanwhile, team member Ben Leitschuh presented research focused on understanding subsistence use in both native and non-native Alaskan communities, and exploring policy strategies to enhance representation of native voices. Preliminary findings revealed complex subsistence use patterns in and around Denali, with differing motives among native and non-native residents. Many non-native residents have tied subsistence to views of the land as a harsh place that requires self-reliance, but also allows for personal freedoms not available in urban areas. Native users often tied subsistence use – or “customary and traditional use” – to practicing sovereignty and maintaining their connection to a land imbued with the memories, spirits, and stories of their ancestors. These findings suggest that there is need for the federal and state government to re-visit current structures of subsistence regulations.




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