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Agency capacity for recreation science and management The case of the US Forest Service



Agency capacity for recreation science and management The case of the US Forest Service



U S Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station General Technical Report PNW GTR (757): 1-78



This report examines the capacity of natural resource agencies to generate scientific knowledge and information for use by resource managers in planning and decision-making. This exploratory study focused on recreation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. A semistructured, open-ended interview guide elicited insights from 58 managers and 28 researchers about recreation issues, information exchange, and research-management interactions. Data were coded and analyzed using Atlas.ti (R), a qualitative analysis software program. Results indicate that recreation managers seek information to address user conflicts and manage diverse activities across sites and landscapes. Managers do not always turn to the research community when looking for scientific information and are uncertain about the proper channels for communication. Managers consult a variety of information sources and aggregate various types of scientific information for use in planning and management. Managers desire greater and more diverse interactions with researchers to promote knowledge exchange useful for addressing recreation problems. Barriers to interaction include organizational differences between management and research, researcher responsiveness, relevance of information to manager needs, and the lack of formal interaction opportunities. Several structural processes were suggested to facilitate opportunities for greater interaction and information exchange.

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