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Title: Mapping wilderness character in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Author: Tricker, James; Schwaller, Ann; Hanson, Teresa; Mejicano, Elizabeth; Landres, Peter;

Date: 2017

Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-357. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 80 p.

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

Description: A GIS-based approach was used to depict how threats to wilderness character vary in extent and magnitude across the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Based on the interagency strategy to monitor wilderness character, Keeping It Wild: An Interagency Strategy for Monitoring Wilderness Character Across the National Wilderness Preservation System (Landres et al. 2008a), 53 locally relevant measures were identified by the project core team to capture impacts to the five qualities of wilderness character. These measures were depicted using a variety of spatial datasets, which were normalized using a common relative scale such that disparate metrics could be analyzed together. Each measure was "weighted" by the project core team to reflect its relative impact to wilderness character. Maps generated for each of the weighted measures were then added accumulatively to create a combined map delineating the overall spatial pattern and variation of threats to wilderness character across the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This combined map depicts a wilderness that has not been substantially impacted by threats, with the highest quality wilderness character primarily found away from entry points and travel routes, especially in areas with fewer and smaller lakes; in contrast, the lowest quality wilderness character was highly correlated with lakes that allow motorized use, especially those that are wilderness entry points. The map products presented in this report provide managers with a tool to better understand the extent and magnitude of threats to wilderness character, holistically evaluate tradeoffs associated with decisions and actions in wilderness, and ultimately improve wilderness stewardship.

Keywords: Wilderness Act, wilderness, wilderness character, mapping wilderness character, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Superior National Forest

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Citation:


Tricker, James; Schwaller, Ann; Hanson, Teresa; Mejicano, Elizabeth; Landres, Peter. 2017. Mapping wilderness character in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-357. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 80 p.

 


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