Attachments to recreation settings: The case of rail-trail users

Roger L. Moore, Alan R. Graefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

491 Scopus citations


The authors explore the nature of place attachment (the extent to which an individual values or identifies with a particular environmental setting) and develop a model to help explain how such relationships with recreation settings form. This model is then tested with a sample of users of three "rail-trails" (multiuse recreation trails constructed on unused railroad rights-of-way). Results support the literature, suggesting that place attachment has at least two dimensions: A place dependence, reflecting the importance of the place in facilitating a user's activity, and a more affective place identity, reflecting an individual's valuing of a setting for more symbolic or emotional reasons. Analysis reveals that place identity can best be predicted by how long users have been associated with the trail, the importance they ascribe to their trail activity, and their level of place dependence. Level of place dependence is best predicted by the distance between the trail and the user's home and users' frequency of trail use. Users' frequency of trail use is most strongly related to their age, the importance they ascribe to their trail activity, and how far the trail is from their home. Management implications and needs for further research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-31
Number of pages15
JournalLeisure Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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