Using GPS-based Tracking Data to Build an Agent-based Model of Visitors’ Off-Trail Behavior in Nature-Based Tourism Settings

Agent-based models (ABM) simulate the actions and interactions of autonomous agents based on simple rules, which can provide insight into complex system-level behavior, such as dispersed visitor use in a nature-based recreation context. In this project, we developed an ABM of dispersed recreation at El Capitan Meadow, a popular point of interest in Yosemite National Park. Visitor behavior was informed by data from a GPS-based tracking study conducted at the meadow, and two classes of visitors were modeled: “sheep”, who are attracted to other visitors and exhibit herding behavior; and “loners”, who try to avoid other visitors.