It is sometimes suggested that land managers could better communicate with the general public by relying on people who are active in community affairs to frame the message. By comparing responses from the 'attentive' and general public on the Colorado Plateau in the USA, this study investigated the expected effects of using recreation access fees or road closures to manage recreation on public lands. Although neither the attentive nor general public strongly anticipated benefits from the two management options, the attentive public was more likely than the general public to report positive expectations. Those more likely to expect fewer benefits from the management options do so because of factors that are outside the influence of managers (e.g., socio-demographics and value orientation). The results point out challenges for building public support through mobilizing the attentive public to develop a positive management atmosphere with fees and road closures. ?? 2006 University of Newcastle upon Tyne.