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Resource Type
  • Thomas, Deborah (University of North Carolina Charlotte)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • National Science Foundation Arctic Social Science
  • Abstract

    Attracting over one million visitors per year, Alaska, and by extension the Arctic, commonly characterized as cold, remote, rugged and, above all, natural (Kollin, 2001), captures the imagination as the “last frontier.” The notion of these places, including what is “the natural,” or the social construction of these places, influences the ways in which people expect to experience them when visiting. And, by extension, these ideas of nature play directly into tensions of land use, whether for preservation, conservation or resource extraction. In parallel fashion, interacting with nature is widely viewed as healthy, although also a socially constructed concept, and so too superimposes preconceived notions onto engagement with nature. With the explicit goal of “creating healthy outdoor recreation” opportunities and as places where many people seek to experience nature, U.S. National Parks act as a focal point where complex interpretations of the health-nature nexus play out. Because of its unique location as a gateway to the Arctic Region and as a historical gold mining access point into the interior situated in a picturesque natural setting at the water’s edge, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (KLGO) offers a particularly relevant place to explore the intricacies of the health-nature connection. This proposed research seeks to understand how the social construction of “nature” and “health” each play a role in the ordering of what, and by extension who, is deemed to be healthy and unhealthy in KLGO, exploring how park users experience and perceive health benefits associated with engaging KLGO. Importantly, rangers’ and park managers’ views will be examined because of the symbolic, cultural and economic power National Park Service (NPS) employees hold in this context, often acting as a filter to what visitors experience.
This study is freely available to the general public via web download.
  • Has version
    DOI: 10.3886/E125581V1

Update Metadata: 2020-10-29 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2020-10-29

Thomas, Deborah (2020): KLGO Data. Version: V0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.