Contributing to Local Stewardship and Advocacy: Identifying Barriers among Climbers

2020, Managing Sport & Leisure

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Research question/objective: Across North America climbers are mobilizing to address the challenges associated with their sport through local climbing organizations (LCOs). Despite LCOs’ importance in tackling the challenges facing climbers and the vital role of everyday climbers in making the work of LCOs possible, little is known about what motivates – and arguably more importantly, impedes – climbers’ contributions to LCO efforts. This study takes a step in filling this gap.

Research methods: This study is a descriptive analysis of survey data collected in collaboration with an LCO serving climbers along Utah’s Wasatch Front (n = 953).

Results and findings: Study findings indicate that while practical barriers – such as resource, time, and scheduling constraints – are among the top reasons that climbers do not contribute, there are also barriers that LCOs can mitigate. Central to such barriers is information regarding what the LCO does, how it does it, and how it leverages climbers’ contributions towards those aims.

Implications: A key practical implication of these findings is that LCOs may benefit from dedicated strategic campaigns to inform the participants that they serve of their missions, initiatives, and projects. For scholars, the study illustrates how LCOs offer a better understanding of the promises and challenges of similar grassroots, volunteer-driven management.