Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs
Graduate Student Supervision
Master's Student Supervision
Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.
Gateway communities are crucial to national park management, and the impacts of national parks on gateway communities are mostly related to tourism. Residents' perceptions of tourism could reveal people's interactions with national parks, thereby affecting management effectiveness. However, residents' perceptions of tourism impacts are rarely emphasized in national park gateway communities in North America and the variables associated with local support haven't been completely identified.This thesis explored residents' perceptions and examined the criteria used by previous scholars to identify the impact factors and investigate local support for tourism. A survey-based questionnaire instrument collected residents' perceptions (n = 790) in the gateway communities of the two most-visited national parks in North America. This study (Chapter 3) found that the main issues in the gateway communities at Banff National Park were noise pollution, a lack of infrastructure, visitor environmental education, and environmental issues related to water, air and garbage disposal. Residents' perceived impacts of tourism development were primarily reflected in community life, natural environment, cultural development, quality of life, and economic development, and the intermediate gateway community residents perceived most impacts from tourism. The local support by studied gateway communities of BNP was associated with the natural environment, cultural development and quality of life factors identified from exploratory factor analysis, and the core GC residents were most supportive.Further, this study (Chapter 4) found a discrepancy between the expected level of park development and community status, and corresponding management measures need to be taken. Tourism development mainly caused environmental and social-cultural issues rather than economic issues. It was also found that support for tourism (ST) was highly associated with community participation (CP), the living environment (LE), trust in tourism agencies (TT), tourism benefits (TB), and community satisfaction (CS). Moreover, this study provided recommendations for both local authorities to better manage the gateway communities by prioritizing environment management, optimizing the use of environmental resources, and obtaining residents’ support by the positive aspects identified in this study. Aside from that, the study recommended that park managers provide economic benefits to local stakeholders and environmental education to visitors. Lastly, some limitations were addressed.
National parks serve the mandate of protecting natural resources and providing recreational and educational opportunities for the public. How to balance the development of park services to ensure a high-quality visitor experience all year-round while conserving wildlife populations becomes increasingly important for park sustainability. However, there has been limited research on bridging the knowledge gap between tourism seasonality and visitor satisfaction and analyzing long-term human-wildlife conflict patterns through examining Banff National Park visitor/wildlife incidents and conflict management. This thesis (chapter 2) investigated visitor satisfaction in Banff National Park in different seasons. The study was conducted through a face-to-face questionnaire survey that collected visitor demographic, expectation and satisfaction data in July and December 2019 in Banff National Park. The data analyses were based on a sample of 741 respondents and were processed using Principal Component Analysis, Correlation Analysis and Logistic Regression Models. There were significant differences in visitor satisfaction levels and their determinants in different seasons. The quality of the park’s natural characteristics and the park’s activities were the most important determinant of visitor satisfaction in the high season and off-season, respectively. This research also (Chapter 3) investigated spatial and temporal patterns and characteristics of human-wildlife conflicts in Banff National Park. The data analyses were based on a sample of 6,302 occurrences of the conflicts during 2008-2016. The data were processed by using temporal and spatial analysis, hotspot analysis and correlation analysis. Results show a significant spatial characteristic that the conflicts had a high risk of occurring along or near the trails or roads, and 96% of the conflicts occurred within a 1km distance from the trails. Townsite activities and driving are two major activities that cause conflicts. Results also reveal that both anthropogenic and environmental variables were significantly correlated with the occurrences of the conflicts. The findings may assist both practitioners and scholars in understanding visitor expectations and satisfaction in different seasons and the patterns and trends of human-wildlife conflicts in Banff National Park. They also assist in the prioritization and effective management of the park to optimize the visitor experience and improve human-wildlife coexistence in national parks.