Assessing Rule Compliance and Robustness in Recreational Resource Management

2013, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, with Christopher M. Weible

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To mitigate degradation of open-access natural resources, government officials and resource users often share responsibilities in monitoring and enforcing management rules. Common pool resource (CPR) theory provides diagnostics for assessing the robustness of such rule arrangements. In this paper, we employ CPR theory to examine co-management efforts involving a government land management agency and a climber advocacy organization in a rock climbing destination in Utah, USA. Based on interviews and site visits, we find variation in perceptions of compliance and moderate accordance with the principles of robust rule design offered by CPR theory. The contributions of this paper are both practical and theoretical. Practically, we identify potential methods for strengthening management strategies for an open-access natural resource. Theoretically, we explore the generalizability of CPR theory to a non-traditional CPR setting, offer precise conceptualization and operationalization of the CPR design principle components, and find elite influence in facilitating communication and collective decision-making in the establishment of management rules.