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Mapping Local Perspectives


We collected data on meaningful places and outdoor activities from 169 Olympic Peninsula residents through mapping workshops held in 8 communities. We held one workshop in each community with the exception of Aberdeen, where we held two workshops because turnout for the first workshop was low due to inclement weather conditions.

Number of Participants and Dates of Mapping Workshops
Aberdeen/Hoquiam 17 (8 in 2010; 9 in 2011) Fall 2010; Fall 2011
Forks 32 Fall 2011
Hoodsport 17 Fall 2010
Lake Quinault 39 Fall 2011
Port Angeles 19 Fall 2010
Port Townsend 18 Fall 2010
Quilcene 10 Summer 2010
Shelton 17

Fall 2010











We recruited participants with an eye toward including people from a mix of social, occupational, and ethnic backgrounds. Additionally we wished to include individuals with a range of views about how natural resources should be managed. We used a variety of recruitment methods, such as working closely with community leaders and organizations to advertise the workshop, making phone calls or sending out emails to prospective participants, providing press releases to local newspapers and radio stations, and by posting flyers in central locations, such as libraries and post offices.
During the workshops, participants were assigned to tables on which we had laid out 3’ x 3’ paper base maps of the Olympic Peninsula. We used a scale of 1:750,000 for the base maps, a scale which provided sufficient detail that participants could locate places at the watershed scale, but enabled us to use maps that would easily fit on ordinary folding tables. Between 4 and 7 persons worked on each map.

In similar mapping processes done elsewhere, researchers have asked participants to mark meaningful places or activity locations using dots (Brown and Reed 2009; others). Although dots are relatively easy to digitize and analyze, many activities and meaningful places are better represented using either lines or polygons. Consequently, for these mapping exercises the participants could use points (i.e, dots), lines, or polygons to map meaningful places or activity sites, depending on which they felt best represented those locations.



Mapping exercise 1—Meaningful places: In the first exercise, we had participants map up to three places they felt were particular meaningful to them. We also asked them to assign values to each place, choosing from a list of 14 values that we adapted from earlier mapping studies (Brown and Reed 2009). Participants could assign more than one value to a place, but they could only select values included on the list. We also asked participants to briefly describe in their own words why they valued the place and the types of activities they did there.

Landscape Values and Their Descriptions
Aesthetic I value this place for the scenery, sights, smells or sounds.
Economic I value this place because it provides income and employment opportunities through industries such as forest products, mining, tourism, agriculture, shellfish, or other commercial activity.
Environmental Quality I value this place because it helps produce, preserve, and renew air, soil and water or it contributes to healthy habitats for plants and animals.
Future I value this place because it allows future generations to know and experience it as it is now.
Health I value this place because it provides a place where I or others can feel better physically and/or mentally.
Heritage I value this place because it has natural and human history that matters to me and it allows me to pass down the wisdom, knowledge, traditions, or way of life of my ancestors.
Home I value this place because it is my home and/or I live here.
Intrinsic I value this place just because it exists, no matter what I or others think about it or how it is used.
Learning I value this place because it provides a place to learn about, teach or research the natural environment.
Recreation I value this place because it provides outdoor recreation opportunities or a place for my favorite recreation activities.
Social I value this place because it provides opportunities for getting together with my friends and family or is part of my family’s traditional activities.
Spiritual I value this place because it is sacred, religious, or spiritually special to me.
Subsistence I value this place because it provides food and other products to sustain my life and that of my family.
Wilderness I value this place because it is wild.

Mapping exercise 2—Outdoor activities: In the second exercise, we asked participants to think of three activities they did outdoors. We then had them map up to 5 places where they did each of the activities they identified. Participants used the same color of marker for mapping their activities as they used for marking their meaningful places. This allowed us to link each individual’s meaningful places map with her activities map while retaining confidentiality of mapped places and demographic characteristics.

The results of this study are available for download here:

Mapping Human-Environment Connections on the Olympic Peninsula: An Atlas of Landscape Values
(2013). R. McLain, L. Cerveny, D. Besser, D. Banis, K. Biedenweg, A. Todd, C. Kimball-Brown, and S. Rohdy 
Occasional Papers in Geography No. 7.