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An exploration of place meanings among residents in central Wisconsin

Simoni, Jennifer, Floress, Kristin
Lake and reservoir management 2015 v.31 no.1 pp. 1-10
attitudes and opinions, lakes, outreach, ownership, surveys, water management, watersheds, Wisconsin
A mail survey of all residents in the surface and ground watersheds of an 11 lake area in central Wisconsin was conducted in 2012 to assess the behaviors, attitudes, awareness of issues, and attachment to lakes to incorporate social information into lake management. Place attachment is a complex concept composed of many dimensions to describe an individual's relationship to a place. This study tested the dimensional structure, validity, and transferability of a previously developed place meanings scale. The factors were then further tested to see if any differences existed among type of ownership (lakefront property owners versus non-lakefront property owners), involvement in lake groups, and seasonal residency in the level of meanings assigned to the lakes. Significant differences were found among type of ownership, involvement in lake groups, and seasonal residency on several place meaning domains. The dimensional scale structure revealed through this study differed somewhat from the original place meanings scale being tested, although the overall consistency on a new population has provided evidence for the transferability of place meanings scales in similar settings. Implications for management include the need to develop targeted outreach plans based on what is valued by residents instead of relying only on lake-by-lake segmentation.