Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Jerry Hall

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Recreational demand for out-of-doors space and facilities continues to increase into the 1980’s. Accordingly, multi-purpose conservation areas, by the nature of their designations, require ongoing assessment of the attributes which determine the quality of the recreational experience they afford.

A problem with the master planning process for these multi-use areas is that in the past, little or no consideration has been given to user-recreationist input in the development stages of the master plans. The purpose of this study is to devise a method of assessing user satisfaction towards the recreational quality available at multi-use conservation areas, and to show how this data can be applied to evaluate existing master plans for these conservation areas.

Results of a survey at Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area in southern Ontario are compared to the statements of managerial objectives and priorities in the current master plan for that Area. Results of the study indicate that the general recreationist is satisfied with the recreational activities available at Pinehurst Lake but not with the maintenance of the amenity facilities provided to accommodate those activities. Visitors to Pinehurst Lake indicated that future management priorities should be directed more to the development of the natural landscape and setting of the Area, rather than to the development of further recreational facilities.

This case study identified problems specific to Pinehurst Lake and also to multi-purpose conservation areas generally. Resolving such problems involves three areas, manipulation of visitors, manipulation of the physical environment, and reduction of negative attributes.

Methodologically, the study was able to measure visitor satisfaction with their recreational experience, and to suggest six areas for future research which included conflicts of value priorities, motivation of non-visitors, cause-effect relationship, zone specific carrying capacity, user impact, and alternate data-source techniques.

Convocation Year