Date of Award

6-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Recreation

First Advisor

Sharon L. Todd, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Brandy Boden

Abstract

This study was based on a parent project funded by New York State’s Aid to Localities Fund focused on the rail line between the cities of Cortland and Binghamton. In the spring of 2007, New York State Senator Thomas Libous requested a study of the potential benefits and feasibility of this excursion train. The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between constraints and young adults’ desire and ability to use an excursion train as a leisure activity. In order to reach an appropriate sample population a questionnaire survey was administered in four different settings: via telephone, at the Central New York Maple Festival, on the train servicing the Maple Festival and at the Great Cortland Pumpkinfest. A total of 1160 out of 2311 respondents participated. Young adults were defined as those aged 18-30, while older adults were over age 30. The study tested four hypotheses. The first was that young adults will rank lack of interest, lack of time, lack of money, and lack of information highest among their constraints. The second hypothesis stated that constraints will be related to age such that: young adults will be more constrained by lack of interest, lack of time, lack of money, and lack of information than older adults; young adults will be less constrained by lack of an activity partner, concerns for safety, and a previous bad experience than older adults; and young adults’ level of constraint will not differ from older adults on driving distance or lack of accessibility for persons with physical disabilities. The third hypothesis proposed that interest in themes and destinations will be related to age such that: young adults will be more supportive of those excursions outlining alcohol use than older adults; young adults will be less supportive of those excursions with a family orientation and theatre activities than older adults; and young adults will not differ on their level of support for trains as a shuttle service for paddlers, anglers, or bikers and for excursions to sporting events. The final hypothesis stated that overall, older adults will be more supportive and interested in an excursion train in their community than young adults. Results indicated that young adults were more interested and supportive in almost every single instance. However, young adults were also more constrained than their older counterparts. This information could be valuable to recreation practitioners in the future, giving insight into what young adults are looking for in their recreational pursuits.

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