Benefits of Hiking: A Means-End Approach on the Appalachian Trail

The purpose of this research was to examine the outcomes prompting hiking along the Appalachian Trail (AT).

By using means-end theory, linkages between attributes, consequences, and values of the AT hiking experience were made. The researchers conducted forty-three interviews of AT hikers. Self-fulfillment, self-reliance, fun and enjoyment of life, and warm relationships with others were some of the values that emerged.

Specifically, strong links existed between hiking and exercise, exercise and health, health and fun and enjoyment of life. While this area of research on the AT is new, results of this study can be used by recreational professionals that work with the AT or other hiking trails to promote appropriate use of natural resources.

Published January 01, 2009

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