Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Recreation, Parks and Tourism Resources

Committee Chair

Chad Pierskalla

Committee Member

Jinyang Deng

Committee Member

David Smaldone


Research on recreational use market segments and trends are essential for determining how tourism businesses can better meet the needs of their customers and find new target markets especially during challenging times. The purpose of this study is to determine how recreation participation has changed over five years on the Monongahela National Forest following the world financial crisis in 2008. Data used for this research were collected with the National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) surveys in fiscal years 2009 and 2014. NVUM surveys are onsite interviews conducted at the end of a visit. The surveys produce descriptive information about visitors. NVUM uses a stratified random sampling methodology to collect data for each use level (e.g., low, medium, high, or very high) and site type (e.g., Day Use Developed Sites, Overnight Use Developed Sites, General Forest Areas, and Wilderness Sites). Data were collected during a 12-month period and a total of 1,851 interviews were completed. Two step cluster analysis of 18 activity participation variables (binary data) was conducted with 5 clusters specified. The clusters include Relaxing in Nature Package, Backpacking and Hiking Package, Viewing Nature Package, Picnicking Package, and Purely Fishing. Changes in demographics, overall satisfaction, and trip spending were examined for each market segment. Market winners and losers were identified helping tourism providers develop more efficient strategies both locally and regionally.