Why do they come? Understanding attendance at ranger-led programs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Research
TitleWhy do they come? Understanding attendance at ranger-led programs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsStern, MJ, Powell, RB, Hockett, KS
JournalJournal of Interpretation Research
Volume16
Issue2
Pagination35 - 52
Date Published2011///
AbstractThis study examines the perceptions of interpretive rangers and of the visiting public regarding explanations for attendance of ranger-led interpretive programs at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Interpretive rangers’ perceptions about the most important barriers to program attendance were corroborated by park visitors and included a lack of awareness of the programs, insufficient time or inconvenient timing, and a preference for a more solitary park experience. While interpreters suggested that interest in a specific topic or place, the offering of a tangible reward or souvenir, and chance/serendipity would be the most consistently important predictors of attendance, surveys with park visitors suggested that desires to be entertained, a better chance toactually see the park’s unique attractions, and a good group experience were more consistent motivators. This paper discusses recommendations for increasing interpretive program attendance and compares the value of collecting information about motivations for program attendance directly from visitors versus relying on ranger perceptions.
URLhttp://server.interpnet.com/nai/docs/Publications/JIR-v16n2.pdf#page=39