Date of Award

12-2011

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Forest Resources

Advisor

Jessica Leahy

Second Committee Member

Kathleen P. Bell

Third Committee Member

Mike Kilgore

Abstract

This research is composed of two essays that explore public recreation access within the state of Maine, and family forest landowner preferences towards policy solutions. The study outlined in Manuscript I examines issues and problems related to public recreation, and policy preferences of family forest landowners, government agency representatives, recreation interest group representatives, and landowner and agricultural interest group representatives. The second study, summarized in Manuscript II, explores family forest landowner attitudes and policy preferences. Manuscript I, "Finding Incentives for Family Forest Landowners: the Behavioral Assumptions Framework Applied in a Recreation Access Preferences Study," involved focus groups with family forest landowners in six locations throughout the state of Maine (n=70). Additional focus groups were also conducted with government agency representatives (n=7), recreation interest group representatives (n=8), and landowners and agricultural interest group representatives (n=7). Focus group discussions included public recreation access policies, issues and problems resulting from authorized and unauthorized public use, and possible policy solutions. The findings for this research provide insight into what issues family forest landowners face from public recreation, and what tools and policies could be enacted to encourage continued public recreation access. Manuscript II, "Developing a Behavioral Assumptions Framework Scale to Guide Family Forest Landowner Policy," examines family forest landowner attitudes and policy preferences for public recreation access. A questionnaire mailed to family forest landowners in Maine (n=1,600) identified landowner attitudes and policy preferences, and explored factors that can impact a landowner's public recreation access policy. By providing insight into landowner motivations, attitudes and policy preferences, the results from this research will be helpful to policy makers and landowners, and actions can be taken to reverse trends in increased postings throughout the state.

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