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Abstract

How social change occurs is an important consideration when analyzing the effects of public land management policies on rural communities. This paper utilizes data from a recent study in Owyhee County, Idaho, to explore the combination of social attributes that contribute to community attitudes of cohesion, integration, and attachment in a set of rural communities. Specifically, we examine the importance of social networks and where a particular public land activity, ranching, fits into those networks. We then evaluate the role such networks play in determining respondent attitudes about the cohesiveness of their community, how they are integrated with people in their community, and how attached they are to where they live. The results indicate that increasing density of acquaintenship and intimate social connections to ranching and other local businesses increase the strength of cohesion and integration attitudes. Density of acquaintenship and intimate social connections to local businesses increase community attachment, but a social connection to ranching does not.

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