Participation in Park Interpretive Programs and Visitors; Attitudes, Norms, and Behavior about Petrified Wood Theft
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The purpose of this study was to understand the relationships between participation in park interpretive programs and attitudes, norms and behavior about theft of petrified wood at Petrified Forest National Park (PFNP). The Theory of Reasoned Action guided the research. Data collection included observation of theft behavior, on-site interviews and mailback questionnaires. Findings indicated that more time spent at interpretive centers and programs did not result in visitors; attitudes and norms about individual acts of wood theft being more negative. Also, attitudes and norms about petrified wood theft did not vary by type of interpretive programs judged most helpful in learning the park;s story and in learning the park;s rules and regulations. Tentative evidence suggests that the norm against taking a handful of wood was stronger among individuals who cited visitor centers as their most helpful source than it was for respondents who said the same about other national park interpretive programs. Similarly, the attitude variable that it is all right to take a piece of petrified wood as long as it is a small piece did vary for two categories of interpretive programs (other national park programs and all ranger programs). Ranger programs measured significantly higher than other national park programs. The rate of theft of petrified wood was not inversely related to the amount of interpretive programs participated in and did not vary by type of interpretation judged most helpful. Finally, attitudes and norms about petrified wood theft did not shape theft behavior. However, knowing visitors; attitudes helped to predict who would be a non-thief.
- Masters Theses