You are on page 1of 9

QUALITATIVE RESEARCH IN SUPPORT OF POLICY CHANGE

1

Qualitative Research in Support of Policy Change
for Bidwell Park

Kostadenos A. Hondros

California State University Chico
















QUALITATIVE RESEARCH IN SUPPORT OF POLICY CHANGE
2

Abstract

Our research is centered on stakeholders involved with Bidwell Park. Qualitative questions were
created by a larger group, and a smaller group went to Bidwell Park grounds to assess the user
groups there. This smaller group consisted of Ben Johnson, Krystal Felix, Sergio Chairez, Alyssa
Edzant, and Kostadenos Hondros. As a group we transcribed interviews we took of average park
users and identified themes amongst their collective answers. We discovered that many people
either had neutral, positive, or negative opinions to our questions. We decided to key in on one
specific question. Question 18 basically focused on ATV, dogs, horses, hunting and fishing in
Bidwell Park. From the information we gathered we made an overall policy recommendation for
the Bidwell Park Management. This research was performed for our class in hopes that more
people in Chico will agree with our policy recommendation. We hope that this research
encourages more students and future researchers to further pursue user group conflicts and
solutions to them.
















QUALITATIVE RESEARCH IN SUPPORT OF POLICY CHANGE
3

Literature Review and Introduction
Our group was tasked with interpreting the responses from interviewees in Upper Bidwell
Park regarding dog, car, and all-terrain vehicles (ATV) access in the park. To complement their
insights, we referenced two scholarly articles that relate to this topic: Car Park Charging in the
Cairngorms National Park and Analyzing the Impacts of Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Trails on
Watershed Processes in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Our hopes were
that these texts would shed more light on the impacts that cars and ATVs can cause in an
environmental park setting and how they were dealt with.
The issue addressed by the first report was the increased public travel in the Cairngorms
National Park. This was forcing Scotland to start charging for many of the parking lots in the
area to slow the traffic to these outdoors locations. Many groups were a bit unhappy though, so a
survey of 300 people was done to determine peoples attitudes towards charging for parking and
what conditions they would find acceptable for charging, especially in conjunction with
determining how the money would be spent. It was found that most users supported charging for
parking based on certain conditions such as the fee system, parking lot location, and the policy
for hypothecating fees for reinvestment in facilities and the environment.
The second article discussed how off-road vehicles are destroying the soil and thus
ruining the flow of watersheds in national parks. In order to see if their hypothesis was correct,
they first used a method of research called Field Mapping where they observed the surface soil
type, trail cover, and presence or absence of ponded water. Additionally, they mapped all stream
crossing points and the boundaries of distinct soil/vegetation patches traversed by the main trail
network. Lastly, they took aerial photos of the Tanada Lake Trail for reference of changes. But at
the end a CNP-wide charging policy was proposed based on the fundamentals of hypothecation.
QUALITATIVE RESEARCH IN SUPPORT OF POLICY CHANGE
4


Methodology
To start our research, we began with learning about current events pertaining to our topic
of ATVs and cars in parks around the world. We focused specifically on the environmental
impacts that were found in each study to further our understanding of the issue at hand in
Bidwell Park. Our next step was to create qualitative questions to ask random park users about
their experience and use of Bidwell Park. The entire class split up into multiple groups and
gathered interviews from park users in Upper and Lower Bidwell Park. Interviews were recorded
and then assigned to small groups for transcription. Our small group was tasked with analyzing
the answers to question #18 which asked What is your opinion on dogs, cars, ATVs, hunting
and fishing in the park? To better understand the trends with which park users answered this
question, we hypothesized the three most common ways this question would be answered: for,
against, or no opinion. Using this technique, we were able to discern that those that actually
had an opinion, were generally for dogs, against ATVs, for horses, and for cars given that
regulation was also in place. Using these responses in conjunction with our research of other
cases, we created policy recommendations on the best ways to handle ATVs and cars in Bidwell
Park.


Our Policy Recommendation
Taking the information from the qualitative research our group had come up with a policy
recommendation for the park manager. Based off of the three themes we found most in common
we identified that some park users were in conflict with one another. Our question was based
QUALITATIVE RESEARCH IN SUPPORT OF POLICY CHANGE
5

around ATV usage in Bidwell Park. One park user in the later interviews makes a statement
about motorized vehicles in the park. He says he wants no motorized vehicles in the park;
another park user claims that I dont think ATVs are necessary at all.
Based off of the user responses we created a recommendation for a policy that the
Bidwell Park management can fully adopt or pursue further. We recommend that the Bidwell
Park management 1.) restrict car users from entering the park during certain hours of the day,
and 2.) during the certain hours that they are able to access the park they be required to buy a
parking permit; this will help decrease motorized traffic in Bidwell Park. The United States
National Parks Service, in order to have the same affect, charges an annual fee of 80 dollars
(United States, 2014) to have cars park. While we do not specifically recommend this amount for
Bidwell Park, we feel that the management should adopt a similar policy.
Question of 18 also focused on horses, hunting, fishing, and dog users being able to use
the park. Based on the general consensus we decided not to make any policy recommendation on
the other user groups, simply because no other user group listed any grievances on these specific
user groups. The only comment ever made on dogs was made by one of the later interviewees
and they stated that [b]asically [dogs] should be under control whether leash or [by] voice, they
should be under control, and their owners should pick up after them. Therefore, as a group we
can to the conclusion that we have no policy recommendation for these user groups. They seem
to cooperate well with the park users in general, as there seems to be no major grievances
whatsoever.
Personal Conclusion
Entering this class I did not know what to expect. I know it had something to do about the
world around us, and something about the sciences in general. But other than those basic few
QUALITATIVE RESEARCH IN SUPPORT OF POLICY CHANGE
6

things off of the course title I had no idea what I was in for. As we got more into the class I felt
like we got more in depth than any of my high school classes had ever gone. Which was good,
because I heavily expected the academic rigor to take a massive leap forward. And since it did,
its made me appreciate my classes more, so much so that the environmental impacts that we
have learned about have actually begun to matter to me (especially considering they are my
future world surroundings). The science behind erosion, and climate change has encouraged me
to take action against a world that wants to self-implode under the pressures of humanity.
Before I actually got into the classroom environment, I had already decided how much
time I would need to divide to make an equal spread of both priority and time dedication. Much
to my surprise, not all in the world works so well, as to be equally split up; as I learned from this
class. This is a massive comprehensive class that causes major upheaval in a structured guy like
me, simply because the demand in this class is captiously invigorating. This means that I had to
change the area of my focus when it came to studying or prioritization of homework, because has
I not I would be left behind in the dust of this class. Now, I must note, I am not complaining. Im
nonetheless happy that this class does this, because it allows me to see where my limits are and
push at my boundaries.
Unfortunately, unless I am blind in this regard, I do not feel that my writing has improved
per se. The demand on me to write has increased and I have to write about things I have never
even fathomed before. But to say that there is a notable improvement would be misleading and
simply an act of disinformation.
As a politician in training, a self-proclaimed title, something I had never taken into
account was water and its abundance; at least I had thought it was abundant. The class has taught
me that while water is plentiful, it is not infinite, and that no matter how slow we decide to
QUALITATIVE RESEARCH IN SUPPORT OF POLICY CHANGE
7

deplete our water reserves, we are running out, fast. I learned that over the past few decades and
even more so with the encroaching drought, farmers have been pumping the tap dry. We have
learned that city folk waste water, as if it were fruit in the Garden of Eden. Thankfully this was
taught to me, and I have done research on my own to verify that the effects of water depletion are
true and practically self-evident. And I hope to include this more intrinsically in future
governmental policy.
If I had to sum up the group work, I would have to first describe the group itself. While
the idea behind the group work is good in essence, it is quite lacking and very inefficient. Simply
because I feel that the group has to stall due to the lack of delegation and not having everyone on
the same page. This worked in high school, it allowed one person to carry the burden of the
group and move forward with it. In college unfortunately, the expectation of us is increased
tenfold. When one side of the table is ready to move forward, the other half is two steps behind.
Our mentor goes to apply his practice to one half of the group, but then the other half loses its
drive and motivation to pull forward. Any attempt to try and make the group come to a
consensus, is viewed as making things too complicated and the person who attempts to bring
everyone together is considered prude and arrogant.
This inefficiency and lack of drive, gives the group an excuse to slack on both effort and
time. And while individually we are healthy participants in the class, as a whole we are severely
incompetent. Maybe, I am being over dramatic, and taking this to the nth degree of what it really
is, but this is my viewpoint on our group.
I must admit though, while are group seems to slug behind the others, we have begun to
improve. Weve come to the understanding that we need to work more as a group, more
QUALITATIVE RESEARCH IN SUPPORT OF POLICY CHANGE
8

efficiently, and more rigorously. But it is too late in the semester to try and redeem our name
within the class.
Its difficult to look at oneself and provide self-criticism. I guess I could begin my telling
myself to try to keep things simple within a large group setting. And to understand that not
everyone is always on the same page at the same time. Some of us are chapters ahead of one
another while others are just a few sentences behind. So to make me more likeable I guess I
must become more understanding of this fact.
The only way I can see myself improving in this regard is to actually take time and listen
to my peers. Rather than talk at them, I should talk to them. And rather than few someone as
inefficient, I should self-reflect and understand that my pace is too fast for some. We all have
different opinions that push and pull our group (and I guess society as a whole) onto alternating
paths and new wild tangents. And that the way we move as individuals, dictates how we move as
the whole. By taking the time to listen and understand one another I feel that well grow as a
group and as an individual.









QUALITATIVE RESEARCH IN SUPPORT OF POLICY CHANGE
9

References
Arp, C. D., & Simmons, T. (n.d). Analyzing the Impacts of Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Trails on
Watershed Processes in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
Environmental Management, 49(3), 751-766.
Phillip, S., & Macmillan, D. C. (2006). Car Park Charging in the Cairngorms National Park.
Scottish Geographical Journal, 122(3), 204-222. doi:10.1080/00369220601100075
United States. National Park Service. (2014, October 21). Fees & Reservations. Retrieved
October 24, 2014.