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Publication Information

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Title: Use density, visitor experience, and limiting recreational use in wilderness: progress to date and research needs

Author: Freimund, Wayne A.; Cole, David N.

Date: 2001

Source: In: Freimund, Wayne A.; Cole, David N., comps. Visitor use density and wilderness experience: proceedings; 2000 June 1-3; Missoula, MT. Proc. RMRS-P-20. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 3-8

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

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

Description: Recent increases in demand have revitalized interest and controversy surrounding use limits and the effect of visitor density on wilderness experiences. A workshop held in Missoula, Montana, in June of 2000 addressed the potential for social science to contribute to understanding and managing increasingly populated wilderness conditions. Scientists identified progress in our understanding of use density impacts on the wilderness visitor. Management frameworks such as Limits of Acceptable Change have proven beneficial in assisting managers. Science has also advanced the ability to assess and interpret visitor opinion about use density. However, several limitations to our understanding and research needs emerged from this workshop. Contemporary visitor assessments have largely been constrained to current visitors of individual management units. Visitor opinion tends to focus on indicators rather than the actual experience of individuals. We need an improved understanding of the multidimensionality of the wilderness experience and how solitude is defined as one dimension of experience. Poor understanding of the impacts of use limits on visitor experiences and population dynamics is also a problem. The absence of information about visitors, at regional scales, poses problems to understanding how visitor populations are affected by use limits or why objections to limits are prevalent in some places and not others. To address these issues, the science community will need to be inclusive of additional research methods based on a broader suite of conceptual frameworks that can be integrated at multiple scales.

Keywords: wilderness, recreation management, visitor impact, population density, crowding, preferences, attitudes, research

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Freimund, Wayne A.; Cole, David N. 2001. Use density, visitor experience, and limiting recreational use in wilderness: progress to date and research needs. In: Freimund, Wayne A.; Cole, David N., comps. Visitor use density and wilderness experience: proceedings; 2000 June 1-3; Missoula, MT. Proc. RMRS-P-20. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 3-8

 


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