Transportation and recreation: a case study of visitors driving for pleasure at Acadia National Park

Abstract

Automobiles and roads are as much of a way of experiencing national parks as they are a means of conveyance. This study examines experiential aspects of transportation on Acadia National Park’s primary scenic road – Ocean Drive. Interviews with vehicle-based road users were conducted to identify indicators to measure and manage experiential quality on Ocean Drive. Also, a survey was conducted to make comparisons with important variables identified on ‘‘transportation-only” urban roads. Results suggest that (1) Ocean Drive is important to park visitors’ experience; (2) experiential indicators for Ocean Drive include vehicle crowding, scenery, and travel freedom/convenience; and (3) experiential aspects of transportation on scenic roads in parks may differ substantially from urban roads. Study findings suggest a need to deliberately and thoughtfully plan and manage for quality recreational experiences on roads in national parks and related areas. 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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