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Recreation Ecology. Glyn Bissix. Glyn Bissix, Kate Rive & Darren Kruisselbrink Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada. Knowledge and Adherence to Minimal-impact Techniques on the Cape Split Trail. Journal Publication.

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glyn bissix kate rive darren kruisselbrink acadia university nova scotia canada

Glyn Bissix, Kate Rive & Darren Kruisselbrink Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada

Knowledge and Adherence to Minimal-impact Techniques on the Cape Split Trail.

journal publication
Journal Publication
  • Rive, K.; Bissix, G. & Kruisselbrink, D. (In Press) Identifying Key Messages to Encourage Minimal Impact on the Cape Split Trail. Liesure/Loisir: The Journal of the Canadian Association of Leisure Research. Volume 33 (2009), No. 2.
presentation outline
Presentation Outline
  • Purpose
  • The Location
  • Theoretical Framework
  • The Methodology
  • The Results
  • Conclusions
  • Future Research
  • Acknowledgements:
  • The authors are indebted to Jeffrey Marion and Melissa Daniels of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for permission to use the Leave No Trace questionnaire developed by them and for Dr. Marion’s continued assistance throughout the study.
  • This study’s general purpose was to provide resource managers guidance in developing indirect management strategies for the Cape Split Trail and trail systems like it, and suggest additional direction for future research.
  • This study identified the present level of Leave No Trace (LNT) knowledge of users and potential users of the Cape Split Trail in Nova Scotia, Canada
  • It also assessed respondents’ environmental ethic and their corresponding self-reported behavior when engaged in recreation on the trail.
study location
Study Location



Cape Split

the cape split trail
The Cape Split Trail
  • It provides a useful context for this study as it has experienced extensive (unmanaged) recreational impact over several decades
  • It is currently a provincial park reserve; it has an extensively used trail situated within “1200 acres (405 hectares) of the Blomidon Peninsula”, located at the easterly tip of North Mountain, Nova Scotia
  • Visitors seek its unique combination of biological and geological features as well as its isolation. The terrain is diverse, from steep basalt cliffs to flowered meadows and sheltered streams hosting a diverse range of species.
  • Situated adjacent to the highest tides in the world where the Bay of Fundy meets the Minas Basin.
  • Full provincial park designation, while likely providing more active management, is also likely to create even greater demand and amplify the need to address ecological impacts.
the theoretical framework assumptions
The Theoretical Framework - Assumptions
  • Minimal impact knowledge levels, user behaviour and severity of impact is inter-reliant.
  • The deficiency of one factor, such as minimal impact knowledge levels substantially affects other factors such as appropriate user behaviour and impact severity.

The Little Split

need for theoretical explication
Need for Theoretical Explication
  • The need for understanding the efficacy of minimal impact educational campaigns is supported by
  • 1) the continued demand for high quality outdoor recreation spaces that positively impact quality of life,
  • 2) the need to better understand the relationship between outdoor recreation user knowledge and their ecological impacts, and
  • 3) the requirement for a cost effective management approach to protect backcountry recreation spaces.
the applied theoretical underpinnings of lnt
The Applied Theoretical Underpinnings of LNT
  • The LNT program acknowledges the impact of outdoor recreation on the ecological community (soils, vegetation, water, wildlife and people) and prescribes strategies to significantly reduce these impacts.
  • Its theoretical proposition: If you have the following knowledge you will minimize ecological and social impact. The seven principles are:
  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Camp and travel on durable surfaces
  • Pack it in, pack it out
  • Properly dispose of what you cannot pack out
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize use and impact of fires
  • Respect wildlife and others.
  • Respondents represented either current or potential users of the Cape Split Trail.
  • Five groups from three distinct populations were sampled;
    • users of the Cape Split Trail;
    • members of a nature appreciation society--the Blomidon Naturalists Society;
    • and three undergraduate classes drawn from Recreation Management, Biology and Interdisciplinary Studies at the same university.
    • Other than the trailhead group, all respondents were selected through purposive sampling based on convenient access to appropriate populations.
survey design
Survey Design
  • Substantially based on a question bank developed by Marion and Daniels (2001)
  • Previously validated and tested by LNT staff, advocates, and agency partners (Daniels, 2004)
  • Knowledge-based questions that gave useful insights into attitudes, beliefs and behavior (Weisburg, H., Krosnick, J. & Bowen, B., 1989), and also provided links between knowledge and corresponding actions
  • The resulting set of questions were screened and validated through a two stage process by a panel of local experts; the second stage involved a modified Delphi technique (Dick, 2000; Dunham, 1996).
  • A parallel sampling technique was used to collect and compare data from various groups (Mitra & Lankford, 1999)
survey analysis
Survey Analysis
  • In total 219 surveys were completed.
  • The survey results were analyzed to identify differences in the knowledge levels and self-reported adherence to the seven LNT minimal impact principles.
  • Percentage and mean response values of the sample populations rather than more sophisticated statistical tests were determined adequate to reveal the differing knowledge and behavior of the canvassed segments (Mitra & Lankford, 1999; Veal, 1997).
  • Without an existing standardized interpretative protocol, author judgment served to determine the satisfactory level of knowledge and self-reported behavior.
  • Threshold levels were based on the perceived consequences, in the collective minds of the authors, of insufficient knowledge and inappropriate behavior.
  • Substantial room for improvement in knowledge, ethics and behaviour
  • Need for focused and targeted LNT type education as well as more generalized messages for the general public
  • Focus educational efforts on weaknesses identified in Table 4.
  • Results suggest priorities for on-site LNT messages
  • Weaknesses raise the question as to whether Indirect Management Methods would be sufficient to protect the Cape Split environment.
table 4 key lnt educational needs
Table 4: Key LNT Educational Needs
  • Durability
  • Human Waste
  • Dirty Dish Water
  • Respecting Others
  • Plan Ahead
  • Campfire Alternatives
  • Encourage “Camp & Travel on Durable Surfaces
  • Encourage proper disposal of human waste
  • Provide facts on how to properly dispose of dirty dishwater
  • Promote respect for other wilderness visitors
  • Encourage users to plan ahead
  • Promote refrain or lessen impact from campfires
recommendations for future research
Recommendations for Future Research
  • Apply questionnaire to several popular hiking locations.
  • Identify and survey other potential user groups such as Outdoor Equipment Store patrons and employees.
  • Survey and observe actual user behaviour as participant observer (Ellis, 2005).
  • Design, apply and evaluate the effectiveness of LNT messages on site.