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Avalanche warning services release public avalanche bulletins to help backcountry recreationists develop risk management approaches for winter backcountry trips. To safely recreate in the backcountry, recreationists must be able to understand and apply the avalanche hazard information presented in the avalanche bulletin. The goal of this research was to test how key elements of the avalanche bulletin affect users’ interpretation of the hazard information within the avalanche bulletin, and to determine if modifications to the bulletin could increase its’ useability among recreationists. We conducted a survey with multiple sections to test if presentation of graphic information and interactive exercises can help recreationists apply spatial hazard information, as well has how users perceive the travel and terrain advice section of the bulletin. The results of these studies can be used by avalanche warning services to improve avalanche hazard messaging in their public avalanche bulletins.
Click here to access a copy of Katie’s thesis.