Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism and Recreation Research. The planetary home for stellar recreation research. Published in cooperation with the National Recreation and Park Association
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Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism & Recreation Research
ISSN 1942-6879
Volume 4, Number 1, 2012


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Post-modernity and the exceptionalism of the present in dark tourim
Rebecca Casbeard and Charles Booth

The paper is a polemical essay concerning approaches to the historical other; a critique of the exceptionalism of the present displayed in some of the contemporary dark tourism literature. We review claims in this literature that dark tourism is both a product of and signifier for post-modernity. We utilize the criteria underpinning these claims to analyze two historical cases of thanatological travel in the first half of the 19th century and conclude that, as both cases self-evidently demonstrate recognizably 'contemporary' aspects of dark tourism, conceiving of the latter as 'post-modern' is historically inaccurate and misguided. The essay closes with a plea for a historically-informed sensitivity in researching the field.

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Legacy of the Lorraine Motel and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Steven N. Waller and Wanda M. Costen

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee, while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. This tragic event cast a bright light globally on the civil rights movement in the United States. The Lorraine Motel was later transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM). This case study examines the NCRM as a dark tourism site and its impact on visitors. Content analysis was conducted on 70 web postings about visits to the NCRM obtained from TripAdvisor. Four key themes were identified based on the analysis of the data: remembering the assassination of Dr. King; immersion into the "aura" of death at the Lorraine Motel site; the conveyance of history related to the civil rights movement in the U.S.; and the transformative power of the NCRM and its related exhibits. Key findings included: (a) The exhibits featured at the NCRM play an important role in conveying the history of civil rights movement to U.S. born and international visitors; (b) visitors experience the "aura of death" when visiting the more graphic exhibits displayed by the NCRM; and (c) for both U.S. and international tourists, a visit to the NCRM, and the assassination site of Dr. King specifically, is both transformative and commemorative. The NCRM has evolved into an attractive destination for African American families, as well as regional and foreign tourists.
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Management issues in dark tourism attractions: The case of ghost tours in Edinburgh and Toledo
Beatriz Rodriguez Garcia

This article explores the interpretative, managerial, and ethical issues present in dark tourism, namely ghost tours. Accordingly, a comparative case study of ghost tours in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Toledo, Spain, was conducted utilizing key informant interviews and participant observation. Because the academic literature on ghost tours is rather limited, this study presents unique findings in relation to managerial perspec-tives on issues of ethics, interpretation, and operations in ghost tours as a dark tourism activity. It also provides observational evidence on these aspects by means of partici-pant observation in ghost tours. The study concludes with a note to possible future studies.

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Solemnity and celebration: Dark tourism experiences at Hollywood Forever Cemetary
Linda Levitt

As the final resting place of celebrities and notable public figures, Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles has long served as a tourist attraction and a site of public memory. Unique among dark tourism sites, Hollywood Forever brings together the gravity of death and a celebratory sense of remembrance. This is made possible in part by the cemetery’s history as a tourist attraction and by its use as a site of festivals, film screenings, and other events. Tourists are encouraged to use the cemetery as social space, transforming relationships to the site. Many visitors respond warmly to these events, yet the cemetery faces disapproval from those who find these practices irreverent and lacking respect for the dead.

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ISSN 1942-6879
Volume 3, Number 1, 2010

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An analysis of nature in three African American autobiographical narratives
Drew Cavin and David Scott

The study of race/ethnicity and leisure has been an area of great interest to researchers since at least the 1970s. Numerous studies have shown that differences exist in the ways people from different racial/ethnic groups participate in outdoor recreation (Floyd, 1998). Most of these studies have found that racial and ethnic minorities (i.e. non-White groups) participate in many outdoor recreation activities at proportionally lower levels than do Whites. However, many of these studies have not examined the socio-cultural history of the relationship between race and nature. In this study we analyzed narrative and historical autobiographical accounts of African Americans from the three major racial eras in United States history in order to examine African Americans’ relationship with nature over time. The slavery era is examined through Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave by Frederick Douglass (written in 1845); the Jim Crow segregation era is examined through Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil by W. E. B. DuBois (originally published in 1920); and the contemporary era is examined through Mississippi Solo by Eddy Harris (published in 1988). Each of these works allows a glimpse into the relationship of the author with nature and outdoor recreation. The authors of each book shared a reverence for and a fear of nature, while each encountered nature in unique and different ways. Taken together, the three works offer us a deep and expansive glimpse into the complicated relationship between the wild places of our country and African American people.

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Truck and tractor pulls: Plowing into the future of recreation, leisure, and tourism
Gretchen Newhouse Berns

With a fan base of over 1.4 million direct and an additional 28 million enthusiasts through various media capacities, truck and tractor pulling is a growing leisure activity. More than just an event, truck and tractor pulling have evolved into a recreation experience with fans spending a considerable amount of time and money engaging in other activities beyond the pull. The purpose of this study was to acquire information from attendees to better understand large events, such as a truck and tractor pulls. Research indicated that many truck and tractor pull fans rely on positive and negative word of mouth to make the decision to attend. This study of a large recreation event will further assist professionals in the field of recreation, leisure, and tourism as they continue to understand the characteristics of successful event experiences.

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Baby boomers and seniors: A leisure value study
Lynda J. Sperazza and Priya Banerjee

Baby boomers worldwide are influencing the aging of society in different ways and greatly impacting recreation programs and facilities. The purpose of this study was to understand what tomorrow’s seniors (baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964) are searching for in terms of community leisure needs as is perceived by their value structure. As a comparison, today’s senior citizens (born from 1925 to 1945) were also examined. Through a written survey, 52 respondents indicated their preferences regarding leisure values, programs, and facilities. Additional commonalities and differences regarding leisure were identified between baby boomers and seniors based on their survey responses. Findings provide the recreation professional with valuable insights into leisure values between these two cohorts.

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Study abroad in the recreation curriculum: A student perspective
Carolin Lusby and Brandy Bandaruk

The purpose of this mixed-method study was to investigate student perceptions towards study abroad. In particular, attitudes, motivations, and perceived barriers were investigated using a survey instrument. The impacts of short term, faculty-led study abroad programs were analyzed using semi-structured interviews and grounded theory. The survey instrument was administered to 240 students enrolled in recreation classes in the fall of 2008. Data were analyzed using a statistical software package and showed that students were in general very interested in study abroad and perceived money and time as their main constraints to do so. The most popular programs were found to be short term programs with faculty and students from the same university, with the most attractive locations being Western Europe followed by Central America. Through in-depth, semi-structured interviews with fifteen students who studied abroad through a large public university in winter 2009, several themes emerged pertaining to impacts on student learning and development. The constant comparison method of grounded theory revealed that students felt an increase in self-confidence, became more socially aware, and changed their perspective towards the country visited as well as what it means to be American. All students felt their experience was beneficial and would recom-mend it to their friends. Following the tradition of grounded theory, a model of the study abroad process was developed. The model includes barriers and motives to studying abroad, the actual experience, and impacts derived from it. The needs for debriefing students upon their return as well as other implications for further research and study abroad administrators are discussed.

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Family caregivers: An untapped travel market
Nancy J. Gladwell, Leandra A. Bedini, Erick T. Byrd, and David A. Cardenas

The purpose of this study was to investigate constraints to pleasure travel for family caregivers, specifically addressing constraints encountered from the industry's service provision providers. Data represented family caregivers' perceptions of physical, emotional, and social constraints that impact their leisure travel opportunities. Using a subset of data from a larger study that generated five constraints to leisure travel, this study focused only on the Service Provision factor that addressed physical and social accessibility of accommodations and services. Results showed that family caregivers not only missed their pleasure travel due to caregiving, but their travel-related decisions were shaped by their level of confidence in service provision. Recommendations address not only issues related to accessibility, but also ensuring that travel professionals are sensitive to unique travel needs of this travel market.

  Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism & Recreation Research
ISSN 1942-6879
Volume 2, Number 1, 2009

  Turning monsters into people: A reflexive study of sex offenders and leisure
D J Williams

This arts-based study serves two interrelated purposes. First, it draws from multiple tales to illustrate reflexivity (and its benefits) between the author, research topic, and participants. Different forms of tales show multiple and diverse human interconnections and the complexity of understanding potential leisure among sex offenders. The importance of prioritizing reflexivity should not be underestimated, particularly when conducting research with populations that commonly are "othered" and sometimes demonized. Within a reflexive context, a poetic transcription from structured interviews with five sexual offender parolees is included to explore the possible essence of leisure as experienced by these men. The inclusion of evocative representations emphasizes commonalities of the human condition, yet also illustrates differences between people.
  Doctrinal beliefs as a determinant of sin associated with select leisure activities
Steven N. Waller

The purpose of this case study was to investigate the association between religious doctrine and perceived sinful nature of 10 leisure activities identified by the congregation under study. A questionnaire was completed by 188 congregants of a predominately African American, Protestant church located in southern Ohio and results indicated a significant association between the source of belief — personal beliefs, scripture, and religious doctrine — and the belief that certain leisure pastimes are sinful. Results of the study suggest: (1) religious doctrine influences beliefs about the sanctity of leisure activities at the individual and congregational levels; (2) personal beliefs are the greatest determinant of perceived sin associated with select leisure pursuits; and (3) length of membership in a congregation influences beliefs about leisure.

  Benefits of hiking: A means-end approach on the Appalachian Trail
Eddie Hill, Marni Goldenberg, and Barbara Freidt

The purpose of this research was to examine the outcomes prompting hiking along the Appalachian Trail (AT). By using means-end theory, linkages between attributes, consequences, and values of the AT hiking experience were made. The researchers conducted forty-three interviews of AT hikers. Self-fulfillment, self-reliance, fun and enjoyment of life, and warm relationships with others were some of the values that emerged. Specifically, strong links existed between hiking and exercise, exercise and health, health and fun and enjoyment of life. While this area of research on the AT is new, results of this study can be used by recreational professionals that work with the AT or other hiking trails to promote appropriate use of natural resources.

  Pigskin and black belts: Can martial arts provide insight for competitive and aggressive sports like American football?
P. Brian Greenwood and Jerusha B. Greenwood

Competitive and aggressive sports provide recreational sport contexts for youth and adolescents across the globe. One of the most popular recreational sports worldwide is martial arts, a sport characterized as aggressive yet backed in the traditional form of the sport by a principled philosophy. The researchers engaged in naturalistic inquiry through full participant observation in a traditional martial arts club. The purpose of the research was to closely examine the teaching of traditional martial arts to determine whether lessons could be derived for competitive and aggressive sports like American football. Philosophical and psychological themes emerged from the research, including a counterbalanced ethic of nonviolence and restraint and achievement orientations reflective of the researchers’ sport backgrounds, respectively.


Board member competency: A Q methodology approach
Amy R. Hurd, Brent A. Beggs, and Paul Fokken

The purpose of this study was to use developed competencies to examine their importance to current public parks and recreation board members. This was done using Q methodology to determine profiles of public parks and recreation board members and the perceived value they assigned to specific competencies. A principle components analysis was used to factor analyze an 11 x 11 Q sort matrix. The results indicated there are three types of board members including the participatory, community representative, and conceptual nonpolitical. These three types had similarities and differences that demonstrated a better understanding of what competencies are important for board members to function efficiently and effectively.



Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism & Recreation Research
ISSN 1942-6879
Volume 1, Number 1



Introducing JUPTRR: A new kind of electronic journal (Special Commentary)
Susan R. Van Patten and Teresa O'Bannon

Welcome to the first issue of the Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism & Recreation Research (JUPTRR). We hope you share in our excitement about the launch of this new venue for publication of leisure research.


Ladies of leisure: Parks, policy, and the problem of prostitution
Caitlin M. Mulcahy

Parks have long been sites for sexual activity, deviant behaviour, violence, and prostitution (Flowers, Hart, & Marriot, 1999; Humphreys, 1970; Mitchell, 1995). Yet leisure researchers have tended to leave these less socially acceptable activities unexamined, focusing their analyses instead on the “benefits” of leisure (Glover, 2003; Rojek, 1999, 2000). This research aims to deviate from the “benefits approach” to leisure studies by conceptualizing prostitution as leisure. The need for "safe parks" for sex workers in Canada is advocated using a feminist, leisure studies, harm reduction framework. Exploring prostitution through a leisure studies lens can transform not only our conceptualization of sex work, but our conceptualization of recreation, leisure, and parks as well.



Psycho-social benefits of a service-learning experience
Andrew Bailey and Keith C. Russell

The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between wisdom and values within a service-learning environment and to determine the effects such an experience can have on one’s growth in values and wisdom. The sample consisted of 115 high-school students, ages 14-19, who attended a 9-day service learning trip. Pearson correlations and linear regression analyses were utilized to determine the relationship between wisdom, values, and personal items. Paired t-tests were used to determine the effects of the program on wisdom and values. Wisdom was found to be significantly correlated to pro-social values on the pre-trip measurements. Significant increases were reported for all three wisdom domains and for pro-social values as a result of trip participation.



Challenge course effectiveness: The impact on leadership efficacy and work efficacy among college students
Theresa Odello, Eddie Hill, and Edwin Gómez

Challenge courses have become increasingly popular in recent years. Many groups are turning to half-day challenge courses due to time and financial constraints. Yet, few studies have quantified the benefits of a half-day course. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of participation in a four-hour challenge course on leadership efficacy and work efficacy of college students. Pretest, posttest, and follow-up questionnaires were utilized. T-test analyses found that participating in a challenge course has a significant positive effect on increasing one’s leadership and work efficacy from pretest to posttest, after participation in a four-hour challenge course. This research also demonstrates that increased levels of the participants’ self-efficacy remained six weeks after the completion of the challenge course.



A model of experiential andragogy: Development of a non-traditional experiential learning program model
Teresa O'Bannon and Cara McFadden

John Dewey, David Kolb, and others have developed theories, philosophies, and principles that explain the concept of experiential learning. However, most literature on the topic focuses on traditional classroom education. A gap in the literature on the topic of adult non-traditional experiential learning showed a need for a theoretical review of theories, philosophies, and principles that lend themselves to the development of a new model. The Experiential Andragogy model presented here was developed for practical use in non-traditional experiential learning settings, particularly in programs designed for adult learners.

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ISSN 1942-6879

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