Communicating about and garnering acceptance of management strategies remains a pervasive challenge. Advanced information communication technologies (ICT), including augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR, respectively), show promise to meaningfully engage visitors, increase their understanding of change and accept management. A paucity of research in ICT and outdoor recreation management exists, however. To bridge the gap, we created an experiment to test four informational mediums about invasive species management in recreation areas. Informational mediums included photos with text, AR, VR, and a control. Park visitors were randomly assigned to mediums and, following message exposure, shared the acceptability of management treatments. Without any information, all management approaches except “doing nothing” were acceptable. More engaging mediums influenced acceptance for nearly half of the treatment scenarios. Future research can broaden and refine the utility of AR and VR and managers can consider how to optimize resources and communication effectiveness. Management implications: • Providing information about management actions seems essential as it impacted acceptance of such action in seven of eight cases tested. • In visitor use areas, any information impacted acceptance of management actions and therefore prioritizing information sharing can enhance visitor understanding and acceptance of management. • In natural areas, as only virtual reality impacted acceptance, it deserves further testing and consideration. • Doing nothing in response to emerald ash borer (EAB) is unacceptable to visitors.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources ( LCCMR ).
© 2023 The Authors