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Publication Information

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Title: Wilderness visitor experiences: A selective review of 50 years of research

Author: Cole, David N.;

Date: 2012

Source: Park Science. 28(3). Online:

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Two of the foremost conclusions from 50 years of research on wilderness visitors are that experiences are highly idiosyncratic and visitors are highly adaptable. The reasons people visit wilderness, their experiential aspirations, and their experiences in wilderness vary greatly among people and within people from visit to visit. Along with people's adaptability to the conditions they find in wilderness, this diversity challenges managers in their efforts to provide high-quality wilderness experiences. Despite the existence of extensive research literature, managers seeking to steward wilderness experiences still must make difficult decisions about who and what they are managing for.

Keywords: solitude, wilderness experience, wilderness visitors

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.



Cole, David N. 2012. Wilderness visitor experiences: A selective review of 50 years of research. Park Science. 28(3). Online:


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