Author Date


Degree Name





Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Defense Date


Publication Date


First Faculty Advisor

Michael R. Cope

First Faculty Reader

Scott Sanders

Second Faculty Reader

Carol Ward

Honors Coordinator

Michael R. Cope


Psychological Sense of Community, Gateway Communities, Rural Sociology, Bears Ears National Monument, Community, Land Designation


This paper will expand on community research by analyzing the changes in psychological sense of community in gateway communities. We will look at the rural communities that border the Bears Ears National Monument as a case study, in order to evaluate the impact that land management changes have on gateway communities. Survey data from three rural communities that surround Bears Ears National Monument are used to test the effects a proposed land management change has on community needs fulfillment, community emotional connection, community influence and community membership. This research aims to fill the gap and specify how one local community feels about the Bears Ears land designation changes. This research will answer the question; how does the notion of the national monument change the way people experience their community? We find that when a bivariate regression is run, the proposed changes to the land designation significantly effects people’s phycological sense of community. While the literature on gateways communities and psychological sense of community provided a useful framework for the study of rural community’s experience, our conclusion indicates a need to consider rural community experience when proposing land management and designation changes to public lands. Specifically, future research should focus on understanding the community effects of creating a national monument.


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