Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service
  
Treesearch

Research & Development Treesearch

 
Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Northern
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help
 

Science.gov - We Participate


USA.gov  Government Made Easy


Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.
20090-6090

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (131 KB bytes)

Title: Human relationships with wilderness: The fundamental definition of wilderness character

Author: Watson, Alan E.;

Date: 2004

Source: International Journal of Wilderness. 10(3): 4-7

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: The science that has guided wilderness management thus far is not really very old. It couldn’t be. Wilderness legislation has guided U.S. federal agency managers since 1964. My own introduction to wilderness research was when I stumbled onto a series of debate articles by some of the few people engaged in early wilderness research during my freshman year of college in the mid-1970s (Hendee and Lucas 1973). What caught my attention was not the clarity or strength of the science supporting the debated topic, but just the contrary. I could easily identify with both sides of a debate for and against requirements for permits for recreational visits to wilderness. The lack of a clear, easy-to-defend solution to the dilemma these scientists described evaded both positions, yet the arguments both for and against were highly emotional ones. The "character" of wilderness, it was clear to my young mind, was something very different to different people (see Figure 1).

The basic element that excited me about this debate was the weighing of structure, articulation of protection benefits, and control associated with permits against spontaneity, freedom, and uncertainty. Whereas both sides of the argument clearly placed great importance on wilderness character, there was disagreement on how it should be protected. At the time, I assumed that 30 years or so into the future, this debate would be settled. It isn't. Today we still are in great disagreement-not over the value of wilderness character, but on how to protect it in wilderness. Rather than be disappointed about that, maybe we should celebrate it.

Keywords: wilderness, character, relationships, environmental protection, public lands

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • You may send email to rmrspubrequest@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication. (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)

XML: View XML

Citation:


Watson, Alan E. 2004.Human relationships with wilderness: The fundamental definition of wilderness character. International Journal of Wilderness. 10(3): 4-7

 


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.