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    Author(s): James D. Absher
    Date: 2010
    Source: In: Hsu, Yi-Chung, ed. Proceedings of the Conference on Visions and Strategies for World’s National Parks and Issues Confronting the Management of World’s National Parks (I); 2010 August 2-3; National Dong Hwa University; Hualien, Taiwan. pp. 145-155
    Publication Series: Other
    PDF: View PDF  (213.47 KB)

    Description

    Park management frameworks developed in the US (e.g., VERP, etc.) are being applied in other countries, notably Taiwan. The social forces that drive visitor experiences and how they are reflected in practice are very important in these new contexts. The diversity of meanings, types of experiences desired or expected, and the ways to gauge "success" are highlighted. I review a couple of recent VERP applications, propose an expanded sociological basis for expanding VERP, reflect on the Taiwan situation, then propose a "meta-analysis" to better understand the role of social science in this process. Notably I make VERP more socially explicit by proposing a scientific approach that yields data on the underlying sociocultural milieu of park visitors. This expanded social ecology results in modified or additional indicators and standards. More specifically, I argue that current applications of VERP are a coarse fit to the facts of social production and local culture, especially in diverse settings. My emphasis is on developing a sociologically robust strategy and a "meta-analysis" that will assure a better set of measures and a close fit to the on-the-ground experiences and community-based governance. This includes study of individual, community and agency-level concerns. Key points are suggested to assure the indicators and standards chosen are plausible and functional. Social science to support planning frameworks can be expensive and time consuming. We need to be sure the visitor management approach fits the setting and the inherent (park specific, time specific) experience issues. An expanded, socially-explicit VERP framework broadens the circle of relevance and improves the scientific part of the cycle of management.

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    Citation

    Absher, James D. 2010. One park, many experiences: socially-explicit improvements to recreation management frameworks with application to Taiwan. In: Hsu, Yi-Chung, ed. Proceedings of the Conference on Visions and Strategies for World’s National Parks and Issues Confronting the Management of World’s National Parks (I); 2010 August 2-3; National Dong Hwa University; Hualien, Taiwan. pp. 145-155.

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