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Publication Information

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Title: Wilderness visitors, experiences, and visitor management

Author: Cole, David N.; McCool, Stephen F.

Date: 2000

Source: In: Cole, David N.; McCool, Stephen F.; Borrie, William T.; O’Loughlin, Jennifer, comps. 2000. Wilderness science in a time of change conference—Volume 4: Wilderness visitors, experiences, and visitor management; 1999 May 23–27; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-4. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 1-2

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: This paper provides an overview of the Wilderness science in a time of change conference-Volume 4: Wilderness visitors, experiences, and visitor management.

Wilderness areas are managed to protect their wilderness character, but they also provide opportunities for recreation use. Decades ago, relatively few people sought wilderness experiences, and management problems were few and far between. Today, there are many places where the demand for recreation use cannot be met without significant impact to wilderness ecosystems and experiences (Cole and others 1997). Managers must seek a balance between the provision of access for visitors and protection from the problems associated with that visitation. They are challenged to find management approaches that maintain the sense of freedom, solitude, spontaneity, risk, and challenge that are considered fundamental to wilderness experiences. The ideal wilderness setting, where visitors have free access, experience minimal behavioral restrictions, and find undisturbed and uncrowded conditions is not always attainable. Managers must often choose among these desirable attributes. Resulting decisions—to deny access, restrict behavior, or allow further degradation—are always controversial.

Keywords: wilderness, visitors, management

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Cole, David N.; McCool, Stephen F. 2000. Wilderness visitors, experiences, and visitor management. In: Cole, David N.; McCool, Stephen F.; Borrie, William T.; O’Loughlin, Jennifer, comps. 2000. Wilderness science in a time of change conference—Volume 4: Wilderness visitors, experiences, and visitor management; 1999 May 23–27; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-4. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 1-2

 


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