Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Human Movement Sciences


Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies

Committee Director

Chris A. B. Zajchowski

Committee Member

Xihe Zhu

Committee Member

Eddie Hill

Committee Member

Lindsay Usher

Committee Member

Ryan Sharp

Committee Member

Laura Hill


Through increased temperature, precipitation, frequency of extreme weather, flooding, drought, and fire, climate change will alter where and how people can recreate. Extant research illustrates the effects of climate change on a variety of outdoor recreation activities; however, little research has been completed on the effects of climate change on rock climbing outside of the alpine environment. One such impact found at Carderock Recreation Area is riverine flooding and erosion. This study used a quantitative survey research design to understand how risk perceptions of erosion from flooding are affected by place attachment and the past use history of rock climbers at Carderock Recreation Area. Multiple linear regression models were used to assess the effects of place attachment and past use history on risk perceptions of erosion. Analysis showed no significant predictors between place attachment or past use history and risk perceptions. Place attachment scores were neutral due to low place dependence and high place identity scores. Climbers held moderate to high-risk perception scores. Better understanding rock climbers’ perceptions of flooding risk may allow managers and climbers to better assess erosion from flooding risks in climbing areas. Similarly, a better understanding may allow managers to mitigate flooding risks more effectively. Broadly, this research expands the literature related to the impacts of climate change on recreation users, such as rock climbers.


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