Race, Rural Residence, and Wildland Visitation: Examining the Influence of Sociocultural Meaning
Previous studies have shown that African Americans have less favorable impressions about wildlands and recreate on wildland areas less frequently than do whites. However, most of these investigations have been conducted on non-rural populations. Rural perceptions of wildlands and visitation to such areas have received relatively little attention. In this exploratory study, we propose that race operates on wildland recreation visitation through the different meanings rural blacks and whites attribute to wildlands. We examine this hypothesis with a structural model which specifies wildland meaning as an intervening factor between race and visitation. Single equation results show blacks visit wildlands less, and have less favorable definitions of wildlands, compared to whites. However, when wildland meaning is included in the structural model, racial differences become insignificant. This suggests that the meanings different racial groups attach to wildlands help explain visitation. Both sex and age are also significant predictors of both wildland meaning and visitation.