Project Title

Cave Tourism in Kentucky: Visitor Knowledge of Ecology and Sustainable Cave Tourism

Presenter Hometown

Corbin, KY

Major

Recreation and Park Administration

Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Degree

Undergraduate

Mentor

Michael J. Bradley

Mentor Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Abstract

This research was conducted to investigate the influence state park facilitated education programs, such as interpretation, has on cave visitor knowledge of bat populations and habitat. This research was completed to help popular caving destinations identify areas where visitor knowledge and behaviors can be or are changed during or after the cave visit. Such changes may help preserve bat populations, bat ecosystems, and prevent the spread of white nose syndrome. In order to investigate these variables, researchers used surveys at Carter Caves from different individuals before and after an interpretive cave tour. The results of this study highlight increased knowledge regarding bats and white nose syndrome, however, visitor preferred management solutions were not significantly different between visitors that had or had not participated in an interpretive cave tour. Future management options discussed include increased interpretation, closing specific caves for tourism, and managing cave visitation numbers.

Presentation format

Poster

Poster Number

090

Share

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Cave Tourism in Kentucky: Visitor Knowledge of Ecology and Sustainable Cave Tourism

This research was conducted to investigate the influence state park facilitated education programs, such as interpretation, has on cave visitor knowledge of bat populations and habitat. This research was completed to help popular caving destinations identify areas where visitor knowledge and behaviors can be or are changed during or after the cave visit. Such changes may help preserve bat populations, bat ecosystems, and prevent the spread of white nose syndrome. In order to investigate these variables, researchers used surveys at Carter Caves from different individuals before and after an interpretive cave tour. The results of this study highlight increased knowledge regarding bats and white nose syndrome, however, visitor preferred management solutions were not significantly different between visitors that had or had not participated in an interpretive cave tour. Future management options discussed include increased interpretation, closing specific caves for tourism, and managing cave visitation numbers.