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Parks Stewardship Forum

UC Berkeley

Factors influencing perceived appropriateness of concessioner activity in Grand Teton National Park

  • Author(s): Pitas, Nicholas A.
  • et al.
Abstract

Concessioner-provided services are integral to the national park visitor experience, and date back to the origins of the National Park Service (NPS). With visitation across NPS units growing steadily over time, services provided by these public–private partnerships will likely only increase in importance. Despite the critical role of concessioners, concerns exist regarding the presence of for-profit entities within national parks. While private businesses may be more responsive to consumer wants and needs, their presence raises questions regarding equity, resource protection, and over-commercialization, while potentially eroding public perceptions of ownership and investment in these protected areas. With this in mind, the purpose of the present study was to assess factors that may influence visitors’ perceptions of appropriateness regarding current and future concessioner activities, using data from visitors to Grand Teton National Park (GRTE). Regression analysis found no significant predictors of perceived appropriateness of current concessioner activity. Several significant predictors of anticipated appropriateness of future concessions activities emerged, however. Respondents who believed that there would be more concessioner activity in the future felt that such an increase would lead to an inappropriately high amount of commercial activity at GRTE. In addition, social liberalism, economic conservatism, and place identity were also related to a belief that there would be inappropriately high levels of concessioner activity in the future. Place dependence, knowledge regarding the role of concessioners at GRTE, and trust in GRTE were not significant predictors. Implications for future research, as well as for decisionmakers, are discussed.

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