Date of Award

12-2008

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The topic for this Master's Thesis was the role interpretive and educational programs play in meeting the National Park Service's goal of making a connection between the visitor and the park. It was the intention of the researcher to determine which type of interpretive program the visitor perceives as more important in making their park visit meaningful. This study was conducted during the 2008 academic year. The case study approach was used examining three national parks; Zion National Park, Arches National Park and Everglades National Park all of which had participated in the National Park Service Visitor Service Project. Data collected from Visitor Service Project surveys was analyzed to determine which type of interpretive program the visitor rated as more important in describing the significance of the park's resources. Comparisons were made regarding the visitor's importance and quality ratings of the personal interpretive programs and non-personal interpretive programs they used which would determine if the programs that require interaction with park staff had a greater impact on the park visitor's experience. If so, this will suggest that park managers need to continue to offer programs that feature park personnel.

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