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Journal of Wilderness December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | ijw.org

In This Issue of Urban-Proximate Wilderness | CoalitionWILD How Leave No Trace Came To Be | Wenaha Wild and Scenic River

International Journal of Wilderness December 2018 Volume 24, Number 3 FEATURES



Book Reviews

Apologizing for Science-Based Decision Making in Protected Area Management 4

Wild Pedagogies: Touchstones for Re-Negotiating Education and the Environment in the Anthropocene




reviewed by JOHN SHULTIS


Wilderness Giant 8 Stewart “Brandy” Brandborg Moves on at 93

In Defense of Public Lands: The Case against Privatization and Transfer



STEWARDSHIP Cultural Meaning and Management Challenges 16 High Use in Urban-Proximate Wildernesses BETSY R. LINDLEY, MARIA D. BLEVINS, & SCOTT D. WILLIAMS

On the Cover

Measuring Forest Service Wilderness Character Trends with Partners 28

Arc-shaped iceberg near Paulet Island, Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula has been one of the fastest warming places and scientists are recording a sharp increase in calving events.


SCIENCE & RESEARCH Examining Satisfaction and Crowding in a Remote, Low Use Wilderness Setting 40 The Wenaha Wild and Scenic River Case Study ROBERT C. BURNS, ASHLEY R. POPHAM, & DAVID SMALDONE

© Jaime Rojo www.rojovisuals.com



How it Came to Be

The Soul of the Wilderness column and all invited and featured articles in IJW, are a forum for controversial, inspiring, or especially informative articles to renew thinking and dialogue among our readers. The views expressed in these articles are those of the authors. IJW neither endorses nor rejects them, but invites comments from our readers.—Chad P. Dawson



, IJW Editor-in-Chief Emeritus © Staffan Widstrand / Wild Wonders of China





International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

Visit WWW.IJW.ORG to view additional content only available online.


Journal of Wilderness

The International Journal of Wilderness links wilderness professionals, scientists, educators, environmentalists, and interested citizens worldwide with a forum for reporting and discussing wilderness ideas and events; inspirational ideas; planning, management, and allocation strategies; education; and research and policy aspects of wilderness stewardship.

EDITORIAL BOARD H. Ken Cordell, Southern Research Station, U.S. Forest Service, Athens, Ga., USA Lisa Ronald, University of Montana, Missoula, Mont., USA Vance G. Martin, WILD Foundation, Boulder, Colo., USA John Shultis, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, B.C., Canada Alan Watson, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, Missoula, Mont., USA Stephen Carver, Wildland Research Institute, School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Robert Dvorak, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Mich., USA

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF EMERITUS Chad P. Dawson, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, N.Y., USA

ASSOCIATE EDITORS Greg Aplet, The Wilderness Society, Denver, Colo.; James Barborak, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo.; David Cole, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, Missoula, Mont.; John Daigle, University of Maine, Orono, Maine; Joseph Flood, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minn.; Gary Green, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.; Kari Gunderson, University of Montana, Missoula, Mont.; Yu-Fai Leung, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.; Jeffrey Marion, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Va.;Christopher Monz, Utah State University, Logan, Ut.;Andrew Muir, Wilderness Foundation Eastern Cape, South Africa; Rebecca Oreskes, U.S. Forest Service (retired), Gorham, N.H., USA; David Ostergren, Goshen College, Wolf Lake, In.; John Peden, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Ga.; Kevin Proescholdt, Wilderness Watch, Minneapolis, Minn.; Tina Tin, Consultant, Challes-les-Eaux, France;Keith Russell, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Wash.; Rudy Schuster, USGS, Fort Collins, Colo.Franco Zunino, Associazione Italiana per la Wilderness, Murialdo, Italy.

International Journal of Wilderness (IJW) publishes three issues per year (April, August, and December). IJW is a not-for-profit publication.

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ARTWORK: Submission of artwork and photographs with captions are encouraged.

MANUSCRIPTS TO: Robert Dvorak, Dept. of Recreation, Parks and Leisure

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All materials printed in the International Journal of Wilderness, copyright © 2018 by the International Wilderness Leadership (WILD) Foundation. Individuals, and nonprofit libraries acting for them, are permitted to make fair use of material from the journal. ISSN # 1086-5519.

SPONSORING ORGANIZATIONS Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute • Central Michigan University, Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services Administration SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry • The WILD® Foundation • USDA Forest Service • USDI Bureau of Land Management USDI Fish and Wildlife Service • USDI National Park Service • Wilderness Foundation (South Africa) • Wilderness Foundation Global • Wilderness Leadership School (South Africa) University of Montana, School of Forestry and Conservation; and, the Wilderness Institute


Apologizing for Science-Based Decision Making in Protected Area Management by ROBERT DVORAK

In my recent readings, I came across a statement that captured my attention. It stated that our decisions should “not solely be based on research.” By itself the statement is benign, and I acknowledge that the intent was to demonstrate the importance of considering the diversity of values, issues, perspectives, and stakeholders in a management context. However, current political trends and societal attitudes warranted further consideration of this proposition.

I came across a statement that captured my attention. It stated that our decisions should “not solely be based on research.” It is not a novel observation to identify efforts to delegitimize science and research. Political processes and public discourse have historical instances where data and methods are questioned, and scientific expertise is challenged when information conflicts with personal goals, values, or agendas. Competing scientific perspectives and conclusions are posited when issues are extremely contentious and have large-scale implications. And the protection, designation, and management of global protected areas are innately political processes. Efforts require significant discourse,


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

by Robert Dvorak

coalition building, advocacy, and compromise. Substantial fiscal and human resources must be acquired for successful conservation efforts. Fundamentally, protection and management agendas are dynamic, value-laden, and contentious. However, what strikes me in the aforementioned statement is the characterization of science and research when considered within the context of practical application and professional expertise. While bureaucracies, institutions, and agencies navigate the political, economic, and social landscapes embedded in natural resource conservation, practitioners and professionals have a more direct and intimate relationship with the issues and actions taking place on the ground. The nuances and idiosyncrasies of collaborating with diverse stakeholders, reacting to changing environmental conditions, or executing management actions with limited resources are most fully understood by these individuals. Therefore, I strongly believe that these individuals need to be unapologetic regarding the importance of science in protected area management and planning. For myself, “manager,” “scientist,” and “ranger” have always been somewhat synonymous characterizations. Instead of specific job titles, they represent the roles and skill sets that conservation professionals embody in the practice of management. Good staff insert themselves in the scientific processes and research programs to create opportunities for success and understanding. Researchers must understand not only the landscape but also how staff operate within that landscape to achieve desirable results. We are thus all a part of research, analysis, and evaluation of the best practices and direction to achieve conservation goals. There is a risk when we apologize for science, or its role in protected area management. To imply that it is less than an integral part in decision-making, planning, or the execution of stewardship is to weaken the foundation of best practices. Apologizing for science promotes autocratic management that can easily be commandeered by sociopolitical agendas and bureaucratic systems. It can undermine the established efforts for collaboration, public participation, and shared governance that are so vital across global protected areas. I am not naive to think that research and science is the penultimate tool in management. Nor do I believe that professional practice and expertise should be ignored or diminished. But to apologize for science and its integral role in decision-making and protected area management is to hobble global efforts for conservation and resource protection. In this issue of IJW, we remember the wilderness giant Stewart “Brandy” Brandborg. Betsy Lindley, Maria Blevins, and Scott Williams discuss cultural meanings and management challenges for urban-proximate wilderness areas. David Cole documents the historical development and evolution of the Leave No Trace program. Finally, Crista Valentino highlights the emergence of new conservation leaders with the CoalitionWILD program. ROBERT DVORAK is editor in chief of IJW and professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services Administration at Central Michigan University: email: dvora1rg@cmich.edu.

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness



International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness



Wilderness Giant: Stewart “Brandy” Brandborg Moves on at 93 by KEVIN PROESCHOLDT Steward Brandborg was a phenomenal wilderness champion, the last wilderness advocate with ties to most of the founders of the modern wilderness movement, as well as the last surviving architect of the landmark 1964 Wilderness Act, a leader of The Wilderness Society during its period of greatest contribution to wilderness preservation. “Brandy” met Bob Marshall at the age of 12, for example, when Marshall stayed at the Brandborg home after hiking through the SelwayBitterroot Wilderness. Brandy led The Wilderness Society from 1956 to 1976, first on the Governing Council, then on the staff, and for 12 years as the executive director. Brandy had a 20-year run of leadership with Wilderness Watch as well, from 1998 to 2018. His contributions to the wilderness movement, and to the National Wilderness Preservation System he helped create and expand, are immeasurable. Now that a few months have passed since his departure, here are some reflections on Brandy’s significance to wilderness.

On April 14, wilderness legend Stewart M. “Brandy” Brandborg broke camp one last time from his home in Hamilton, Montana, and headed over the Divide. He was 93. Brandy was a giant in the wilderness movement, and the last surviving architect of the 1964 Wilderness Act. A wildlife biologist by training, Brandy conducted groundbreaking field studies of mountain goats in Idaho and Montana in the late 1940s and early 1950s. That work led to a job with the National Wildlife Federation in the Washington, DC, area in 1954. He quickly came to the attention of Howard Zahniser, executive director of The Wilderness Society. Zahniser recruited Brandy to join the Wilderness Society’s


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

Figure 1 – The Wilderness Society Governing Council in 1959 at Alpine, Arizona at the edge of the Blue Range Primitive Area. Back row, left to right: Olaus Murie, Howard Zahniser, Robert Cooney. Middle row: Jim Marshall, George Marshall, Ernest Griffith. Front row: Sigurd F. Olson, Dick Leonard, Harvey Broome, Stewart M. Brandborg.

Governing Council in 1956, the same year that

(older brother of Bob Marshall) and Dick

Zahniser drafted the first version of the Wilder-

Leonard (head of the Sierra Club), constantly

ness Act, so Brandy was in on the ground floor

badgered and second-guessed Zahniser and

of the eight-year push to pass this landmark

Brandy on their strategies and efforts. Worried

bill (Figure 1). In 1960, Zahniser hired Brandy to

that the organization might lose its nonprofit

join the staff of the Wilderness Society, where

tax-exempt status, they even suggested that

he worked alongside Zahniser, David Brower

The Wilderness Society abandon its effort to

of the Sierra Club, and others to pass the bill

pass the Wilderness Act. As the organization’s

through Congress.

executive director, Zahniser took the brunt of their criticisms and badgering.

Not only were there external interests

One such point was reached in 1959. But

(such as timber, mining, and ranching) to overcome, but internal challenges as well.

it was the young, eloquent firebrand on the

Some members of The Wilderness Society

Governing Council who rallied the group to

Governing Council, such as Jim Marshall

stay the course and push ahead toward final December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


passage. On October 27, Brandy wrote an impassioned nine-page letter to the Governing Council. “Our organization has become a major force in the conservation movement,” Brandy wrote. He continued,

This is because we stand for something that people need. We have had the finest kind of progressive leadership through the years from Olaus and Zahnie. Now we face a real test and great opportunity to establish a law that will recognize and provide a satisfactory procedure for protecting wilderness. I hope we do not turn our backs on it because of a preoccupation with our organization’s status and financial security…. If we fail to meet the wilderness challenge, will others also? Brandy’s eloquent entreaty fortunately carried the day. After Zahniser’s untimely death in May of 1964, Brandy was selected to succeed Zahniser as executive director of The Wilderness Society. Brandy helped push the Wilderness Act across the finish line when President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill into law on the September 3. One of the defeats within the Wilderness Act was a requirement that Congress must pass a new law to add each new area to the National Wilderness Preservation System. This provision was insisted upon by the powerful House committee chair, Rep. Wayne Aspinall, no doubt to limit the number of new wildernesses added to the system. Little could Aspinall have anticipated what he had unleashed.

Figure 2 – Brandy (second from right) and other environmentalists meeting with President Richard Nixon (fourth from right).


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

Part of Brandy’s genius turned this seeming defeat into an incredibly powerful tool to build and expand and activate the wilderness movement all across the nation. Brandy embarked on a years-long process of identifying local wilderness supporters, organizing them, training them on the Wilderness Act, and turning them loose on their state’s congressional delegations to push for new areas to be added to the Wilderness System. Brandy was quite ecumenical in his outreach, not caring if an activist was a member of the Sierra Club, National Audubon Society, or The Wilderness Society. Brandy embraced them all. Educator Joe Fontaine of California, for example, now a past president of both Wilderness Watch and the national Sierra Club, was

Figure 3 – Stewart Brandborg around 1988, Montana Environmental Information Center. Photo courtesy of the Brandborg family.

one of those activists recruited and trained by Brandy. Brandy’s efforts paid dividends for decades,

worked with the National Park Service during

long after his departure from The Wilderness

the Carter administration where he continued

Society in 1976, and long after The Wilderness

to organize training for activists. Brandy always

Society abandoned its grassroots focus. By

believed that organizing people provided

the time Brandy left that organization, he had

benefits not only for wilderness conservation

seen the Wilderness System grow by 70 new

but also for society as a whole. “Building the

Wildernesses in 31 states. But the momentum

circles” of people enriched the social fabric

he generated and the wilderness movement

of the nation, Brandy believed, in addition to

he built continued long after 1976, as that

finding and organizing activists for wilderness

wilderness movement convinced Congress to

conservation or local planning.

continue adding new wildernesses throughout

Brandy and his wife, Anna Vee, returned to

the 1980s and 1990s. Today we see some

the Bitterroot Valley in Montana in 1986. He

765 wildernesses in the National Wilderness

never really retired but instead continued his

Preservation System covering 110 million acres

wilderness activism for another three decades.

(44,515,420 ha.) in 44 states, a testament to the

He joined the board of directors of Wilder-

strength of Brandy’s vision and the movement

ness Watch in 1998, where he served with

he inspired.

other such wilderness luminaries as Stewart

After he was ousted by The Wilderness

Udall, Orville Freeman, Joe Fontaine, Michael

Society’s Governing Council in 1976, Brandy

Frome, and Bill Worf. Brandy served on the

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


board, and later as Wilderness Watch’s senior advisor, for a 20-year run from 1998 until his final journey in April. With each visit and phone call, Brandy would ask for the latest updates from the wilderness field, and then hand out our assignments to save all the remaining wilderness with no compromise and no collaboration. Dedicated and feisty to the end, he gave a final speech to a full house of activists in Hamilton a few weeks before he died.

Figure 4 – Wilderness Watch leaders received their next assignments from Brandy in October 2016. Photo by Kevin Proescholdt.

Figure 5 – Brandy and Anna Vee at their home in May 2013. Photo by Kevin Proescholdt.

All of us at Wilderness Watch extend our condolences to the Brandborg family, and our thanks to them for sharing Brandy with us for so many years. Brandy will continue to inspire the wilderness movement and Wilderness Watch far into the future, and we fully expect to receive our next assignments from him in short order.

KEVIN PROESCHOLDT is the conservation director for Wilderness Watch; email: kevinp@wildernesswatch.org.


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness



International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number | International Journal of Wilderness 15 photo credit Š 3Jay Drowns / Utah Valley University Marketing


Cultural Meanings and Management Challenges: High Use in Urban-Proximate Wildernesses

As outdoor recreation increases in popularity and metropolises grow larger, the issues facing urban-proximate wilderness and protected lands will continue to come to the forefront. The issue of a high number of visitors in relatively small geographic areas of protected lands can be found in many popular recreation areas located near large cities. Protected and wilderness areas near large cities create a unique challenge; balancing visitor use with

by Betsy R. Lindley

protecting the resource. The purpose of this article is to examine the values and experiences of visitors to the urban-proximate Mount Timpanogos Wilderness Area and to address some of the challenges and possible solutions to these issues. In addition, these possible solutions may be applicable for other urbanproximate wilderness areas and protected lands. The authors of this case study hope to bring some attention and dialogue to a wilderness area in which traditional management styles may not be appropriate. Specifically, wilderness areas and protected lands

by Maria D. Blevins

to which a large local population is connected to place. More broadly, it considers how management strategies can be developed that best consider the cultural connections visitors have to these areas. Rising 11,750 feet (3,581 m)above Utah County, Utah, Mount Timpanogos is a dominant landmark in the Salt Lake City Metropolitan Area (SLCMA) and the centerpiece of the Mount Timpanogos Wilderness Area (MTWA). Mount Timpanogos offers a unique 16

International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

by Scott D. Williams

opportunity for wilderness recreation including hiking, trail running, bird-watching, and hunting. MTWA is located near a population of 2.5 million people (US Census Bureau 2016). The MTWA was designated as wilderness in 1984 and includes 10,527 acres (4,260 ha) (“Mount Timpanogos Wilderness” n.d; Utah Wilderness Act 1984). The hike to the summit of Mount Timpanogos is a popular summer activity for visitors and local residents. It includes a high alpine meadow with lakes, snowfields, waterfalls, and the opportunity to view mountain goats. In summer 2013, more than 55,000 users (per USFS trail counter data) visited the trails on Mount Timpanogos. From June to September of 2017, use increased to 65,000 users (C. Butler, personal communication, May 16, 2018). This 18% increase in visitation over a four-year period underscores that visitation to MTWA is increasing. In addition, demographers expect Utah’s population to double to 5.8 million in the next 50 years, with 64% of that growth coming from counties contiguous to the MTWA (Perlich et al. 2017). In a visitor survey conducted in the summer of 2013, users were asked about their experience, their attachment to the area, and recommendations for management of the resource. The surveys revealed that 82% of MTWA respondents were residents from counties adjacent to the MTWA, 10% from nonadjacent Utah counties, and 8% from out of state. Wilderness areas in close proximity to large and growing metropolitan areas can create challenges for land managers to uphold the management practices required of wilderness and to accommodate the values of a local population. Managers of urban-proximate wilderness must confront a public that is strongly attached to these places but does not necessarily understand wilderness regulations, conform to expected behavior, or agree with how these areas are managed.

Managers of urban-proximate wilderness must confront a public that is strongly attached to these places but does not necessarily understand wilderness regulations, conform to expected behavior, or agree with how these areas are managed. Urban-Proximate Wilderness and Protected Lands As urban areas continue to grow, and large populations live closer to protected areas, both visitors and land managers face new challenges very different from the challenges of managing and visiting more remote wilderness and protected areas. In the United States the recently created San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in the Angeles National Forest is about an hour from downtown Los Angeles. The newly released management plan calls it “America’s most urban national forest in the nation’s most populous county” (Sahagun 2018, para. 6). The 4 million visitors to the area create major traffic and parking issues on the single road that accesses the popular East Fork of the San Gabriel River and the Switzer picnic area. According to Sahagun (2018), these areas “are as crowded as Southern California beaches” (para. 23).

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


Some strategies being used to manage the

and fauna. In addition to the wide variety of

crowds include changing traffic patterns on

birds, snakes, lizards, tahr, and eland, the

weekends, enforcing parking restrictions, and

diversity of plants at the park is remarkable

banning camping in areas of critical wildlife

and is threatened by invasive species (Table


Mountain Aerial Cableway 2018). Although pro-

Seattle, Washington, is another metro-

tected, TMNP is far from wilderness. With more

politan area experiencing significant growth.

than 350 trails to the top of the mountain and

According to US Census data, Seattle is

the visitation numbers identified previously,

this decade’s fastest growing big city (Balk

providing for the enjoyment of visitors and

2018). This growth is impacting the lands

protecting the resource is clearly a challenge.

adjacent to the fast-growing population. For

In addition, a tram can take visitors to the top

example, the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of the

where they are greeted by a café with wifi.

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is

A final example is Guadarrama National

about two hours away from the Seattle area.

Park, located 45 minutes north of Madrid,

A permit system was implemented in 1987 for

Spain, with its population of 3.3 million (World

all overnight trips, and more recently, a lottery

Population 2018). As early as 1933 the land

has been instituted. The last few years have

was designated a “Natural Site of National

seen a 647% increase in lottery applications

Interest,” in 1978 a natural park, and in 2013

for overnight trips, from 2,802 in 2011 to 20,920

became a national park (Sierra Guadarrama

in 2017 (O’Cain 2018). The lottery season has

2017). The contradiction of balancing the

also been extended until the end of October.

recreational and cultural needs of the citizens

Mason Schuur, Wilderness Program Manager

of Spain and the conservation of natural

for the Leavenworth Ranger District says

resources has been an ongoing dialogue.

that the number of visitors is getting close to

With thousands of years of human history in

exceeding the recommended usage numbers.

the region, preserving the historical and the

He states, “They’re kind of loving it to death in

ecological resources are equally important

certain areas” (Buhr 2016, para. 8).

and challenging. Each of these areas has

The issue is not limited to the United States.

significant place importance to the high

South Africa’s Table Mountain National Park

numbers of visitors and faces the challenge

(TMNP) lies within the boundaries of Cape

of protecting the resource while serving the

Town, which has a population of 3.75 million

recreational users.

(Population.city 2015). The park is only 2.5 miles (4 km) from the city center and boasts of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a national park, and World 7 Wonder of Nature (Hike Table Mountain 2015). The park averages around 4 million visitors per year (South African National Parks 2015) and offers unique flora 18

Wilderness and protected areas that experience high visitor numbers face a range of social and resource impacts.

International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

Wilderness and protected areas that experi-

their expectation was to ride the tram to the

ence high visitor numbers face a range of

top of the mountain, and their wilderness

social and resource impacts. Social impacts

experience was more “accidental.” Authors

include noise, crowding, parking difficul-

suggest that the attitudes and perceptions

ties, and inconsiderate fellow visitors. The

of “accidental” wilderness visitors may differ

resource can also be negatively impacted by

from those who choose wilderness for their

high numbers of visitors, resulting in erosion,

destination. Mount Timpanogos, for many

visible and/or smelly human waste, disrupted

visitors, is also an “accidental” wilderness as

vegetation, and social trails. Urban-proximate

defined by Soule and Hendricks (2015). Many,

wilderness areas face challenges, including

if not most, visitors come because of the cul-

the social and resource impacts listed above,

tural meaning that the local community has

that many remote wilderness areas may

for Mount Timpanogos, not because they are

not. Specifically, Ewert (1998) suggests that

seeking the attributes of solitude and wildness

visitors may view urban-proximate locations

that many wilderness travelers seek.

differently than they do remote locations.

In a study completed at an urban unit of the

These differing views may make urban-

National Park Service (but not a designated

proximate visitors more tolerant of impacts to

wilderness), Sharp et al. (2015) found that

the resource and visitor experience. Research

perception of crowding was lower than

at a high-use (and not urban-proximate) area

expected. The authors suggest frequent users

at Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park

may not feel crowded because they expect

found that although visitors stated that their

the crowds or plan visits to avoid the crowds.

experiences were not impacted by crowding,

They state that managers should look at both

individuals did express concern over resource

visitor experience and place attachment when

damage due to overuse (Bullock and Lawson

making management decisions: “By looking

2008). This research indicates that visitors in

at both together, decisions can be made

popular areas are tolerant of crowding and

that will help enhance the visitor experience

oppose restrictions on access to the area,

(identifying visitor use patterns) with resource

even as they are concerned about resource

protection (the desire to protect a place they

impacts due to high use.

are attached to). This may be of special

In a study of a high-use state wilderness

importance in an urban park where oppor-

in California, researchers at Mount San

tunities are limited for outdoor recreation” (p.

Jacinto found that 32% of visitors preferred to

207). In addition, the authors raise the ques-

see fewer people, but a significant majority

tion of whether urban-proximate areas should

indicated that they did not feel there were too

even be managed for crowding and to what

many people, or that they had avoided high-

extent. Certain areas, such as designated

use times (Soule and Hendricks 2015). The

wilderness, have rules and regulations that

authors found that many users had no idea

may impact how this question is answered.

they were visiting a wilderness area. Instead,

Survey results collected from visitors to

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


MTWA indicated similar findings. When

see such a uniquely beautiful spot get trashed

asked, participants overall did not report

by overuse.” Users of the trail are concerned

issues with crowding on the Timpanogos

about the condition of the trail and the impact

trails. Hikers ranked crowding a 4.3 on a scale

inexperienced and/or uneducated hikers are

of 1–10, where 1 = Not at all crowded and

having on the mountain. This data indicates

10 = Extremely crowded. Respondents also

that much like Sharp et al. (2015) suggest,

indicated that the trails were “as crowded” as

land users do not seem to be concerned

expected (73%), with 13% indicating that they

about crowding and its effects, but sometimes

were “more crowded” and 14% indicating they

managers must take resource damage into

were “less crowded” than expected. Finally,

account when making decisions.

when asked how the number of people on

Results of the Mount Timpanogos survey

the mountain influenced their enjoyment, 59%

clearly show that visitors do not want their

stated the amount of people had no influence

access limited. When asked to rank five

on their enjoyment. Surprisingly, 20% stated

potential management strategies identified

the number of people actually added to their

by local land managers, 46% selected “no

enjoyment of the hike, while 21% felt the num-

change” (the most preferred option), whereas

ber of people detracted from their enjoyment.

the least preferred was a permit system

Although respondents indicated crowding

that limited use (41%). The unpopularity of

was not a significant issue, they did express

a potential permit system was a common

concern for impacts to the resource. When

theme throughout the responses. However,

participants were asked “If you noticed

the cultural importance of this area leads the

impacts or issues related to visitors, what spe-

researchers to propose that protecting this

cifically did you notice?,” responses included

area for current and future generations is a

trail erosion (18%), garbage (20%), and human

valid reason for mitigating resource impacts.

waste (12%). However, more savvy and expe-

Frequent and repeated use can also be an

rienced hikers took note of the issues. One

important consideration for urban-proximate

hiker responded: “I am forever amazed at how

wilderness areas. Whereas some people may

people in a huge group...can make such stu-

be content to summit a specific mountain

pid choices.… My concern is that despite all the

once in a lifetime, this is not the case for Mt.

signs, the rocks blocking the wrong way, that

Timpanogos. Many locals hike Timpanogos

people will destroy it until no one can use it

every summer. Visitor surveys indicate that

anymore.” Another discussed the advantages

nearly half of all respondents have summitted

of avoiding Saturday: “I have done the hike in

Mt. Timpanogos seven times or more in their

the middle of a school week and seen only

lifetime. Local tradition is also one of the main

a handful of other hikers, whereas this last

inspirations for an annual hike to the summit.

time [August Saturday], I passed hundreds.”

Brigham Young University, which lies at the

Others simply expressed that they wanted the

base, sponsored a group hike to the top of the

mountain to be preserved: “I would hate to

mountain as early as 1912. Over the next 58


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

years, the hike became a tradition, ultimately growing to more than 7,000 participants in its final year (Carter 1996).

Place Attachment and Cultural Significance Frequent visitors to wilderness and protected areas have numerous values that develop

Place identity is a more personal construct that is concerned with the users’ personal meaning of place.

during their experiences in a place. Through repeat visitation, visitors develop connections and attachments, creating meaning for themselves. In the case of Mount Timpanogos, it is an important cultural landmark to local residents, and place attachment and place meanings develop that can help explain its importance. “Place Attachment reflects how strongly people are attracted to places, while place meaning describes the reasons for this attraction” (Kudryavtsev, Stedman, and Krasny 2012, p. 233). Williams and Vaske (2003) found two major dimensions of place attachment: place dependence and place identity. Place dependence is functional attachment to a place as a location for recreational activities and includes the capacity of place to meet users’ needs and goals (Williams et al.1992; Williams and Vaske, 2003). Place identity is a more personal construct that is concerned with the users’ personal meaning of place. Williams and Vaske (2003) define place identity as “the symbolic interaction of a place as a repository for emotions and relationships that give meaning and purpose to life” (p. 831). Physical space

The cultural significance and place dependence of users of the MTWA may help inform why users have strong opinions regarding management strategies and actions. When visitors were asked why Mount Timpanogos was important to them, four themes were identified: (1) value of the mountain for its beauty/nature characteristics (reported by 32% of respondents), (2) long-term attachment and important role it had provided in their lives (16%), (3) proximity to home (15%), and (4) its iconic status (13%). These themes are interwoven in participant answers, and often participants valued the mountain for several of the themes identified. One participant expressed how all four themes weave together:

It’s an icon over the valley. I’ve always looked up at the mountain to see the clouds and lighting throughout the day, it’s majestic… [when] I finally hiked it, loved it and hiked to the summit again a few days later. It’s an easy, beautiful and close hike to experience the Utah outdoors without travelling very far.

becomes “place” when people experience the location and assign these locations meaning

Participants repeatedly spoke of the beauty

and value (Tuan 1977; Williams and Stewart

of the hike as the main draw to Timpanogos.

1998). Vaske and Kobrin (2001) suggest that

Another participant said, “It is one of the most

managers and educators can benefit from

beautiful places I have ever laid eyes on…

understanding how people value local places.

every time I go there I’m reminded of that

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


freshness, that beauty, that feeling of pure, simple happiness.” Another described how the beauty stayed with them after the hike: “The beauty of the mountain stays with me long after I have come back to [the] land of paper clips.” One experienced hiker stated, “I’ve hiked all around the world, and the beauty of the upper trail is on par with areas in the Alps.” As a major recreational destination, respondents expressed long-term attachment and fond memories of the mountain. Hikers reported outings with family as a child, trips with scout troops, and marriage proposals on the mountain. One responded:

I have grown up on this mountain and have many great memories of hiking, hunting and family. There is no other place in the outdoors that I feel as passionate about as I do Mount Timpanogos…. I have taken my family on it more times than I can count and we all feel it is a part of us. Another hiker stated:

I fell in love with hiking Mt Timpanogos as a young man. When I need a break, it is one of the first places I turn to recharge. The many different seasons that I experience are one of the reasons I choose to climb her so often. It is a place that connects me to my personal past, that of my parents, and to my ancestors who first settled in the Utah Valley. As one person stated, “True wilderness within a reasonable distance from major urban area. It’s the closest and most impressive peak in the valley.” Another said, “I live in Pleasant Grove [a small town at the foot of MTWA] and whenever I drive around the valley I can look at the base of [Timp] and there’s home.” Another said, “It is the symbol of where I live. I wake up seeing it every day. Its majesty and beauty look down upon me every second of the day.”

Management Strategies and Implications Timpanogos is a bundle of contradictions. Individuals love the mountain, it is important to them, and it is a thing they cherish about their community. However, visitors can see the impacts on the trail and that there is a waste management issue. Respondents overwhelmingly oppose a permit system. One person wrote: “Quit trying to manage this. People have been hiking [Timp] for decades. It’s not perfect, but you can only make it worse.” Another said, “I have been hiking it since I was a kid.… I bet I have been up over 50 times. Please don’t do permits. I only hike on Saturdays and it is not busy at all.” One participant offered the idea of education as a solution: “It is important to protect and preserve these beautiful, wild places that we have stewardship over. Rather than limiting people’s freedom and access to them, I think a focus on education would help. Before limiting people’s freedoms, try education!” The acute proximity of this wilderness to a highly populated area, its cultural significance, and place attachment and meanings combine to create unique management issues. The purpose of this study was to find a compromise between the desires of the visitors, the protection of the resource, and the management implications of designated wilderness.


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

People care about this place because it is important to them, and they don’t want it to be different when they take their children and grandchildren in the future.

Recommendations People clearly love MTWA, but frequency and concentration of use is undeniably affecting the resource. Given visitor opposition to a permit system, the case studies identified above offer creative solutions. San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is working on mostly passive use limitations by changing traffic patterns, enforcing parking regulations. and limiting the number of cars to the number of parking spaces. The Alpine Lakes Wilderness has taken a much more active management strategy in actively limiting use through a permit system in which permits are doled out via lottery. The two international examples identified previously offer examples of encouraging some areas to be highly used while protecting others. With visitor opposition to permitting in mind, the authors recommend a management plan that avoids a permit system but instead focuses on education. This plan would require users to complete an online educational tool before hiking and would mandate use of a commercial human waste disposal system for solid human waste. Specific recommendations are as follows: (1) mandate that users complete an online educational tool and maintain proof of completion with them as they hike, (2) implement a human waste disposal strategy, and (3) more stringently enforce existing group size limit of 12 people. These suggestions mirror current management strategies required in similar high-use areas throughout the West. The online educational tool would include a short video to educate hikers on Leave No Trace ethics and their specific application on Mount Timpanogos. Such a prerequisite for a permit is currently in use in several high-use and/or sensitive places on Utah public lands, including Buckskin Gulch (online) and the newly designated Bears Ears National Monument (in person). Users would need to complete the online educational tool and have proof of completion in their possession. This could happen before arrival, at the ranger station, or on a personal device at the trailhead. Since there are only a few points of access for the 17 miles (27 km) of trail on the mountain, the ability to enforce both educational prerequisites and human waste disposal compliance is possible. Per Forest Service feedback and the data collected in this study, the issue of human waste is a perpetual problem along the Mount Timpanogos trail. Throughout this research, it has become apparent that the management areas that most resemble many of the issues that face Mount Timpanogos seem to be hiking routes that are primarily in river corridors and summit routes, which are characterized by most, if not all, travel and impact occurring in a very narrow geographical space. Many hiking routes in river corridors and summit routes are managed to minimize visitor impact by requiring visitors to pack out human waste. Some local and regional examples of this are certain trails in Zion N.P. (UT), Buckskin Gulch/Paria Canyon and Canyons of the Escalante (UT), Mount Whitney (CA), and Mount Rainier (WA). December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


Beauty and nature characteristics and long-term attachment to the area are the two main reasons participants indicated that MTWA was special to them. People care about this place because it is important to them, and they don’t want it to be different when they take their children and grandchildren in the future. However, with use increasing every year and the resource being impacted by litter, human waste, and erosion, clearly a new approach is warranted. Finding this compromise between visitor desires, resource protection, the regulations of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the seemingly incompatible current practices on the Mount Timpanogos trails is challenging. Given that all signs point to increasing interest and visitation, it is our recommendation that a healthy dose of “a priori” education be attempted before more heavyhanded – and according to our research – unpopular regulations are implemented. Perhaps a public relations campaign that informs stakeholders that by following these new rules, stricter measures might be avoided in the future. This example of urban-proximate wilderness could offer a lesson for other wilderness and protected areas struggling with balancing high visitor use and resource protection.

BETSY R. LINDLEY is a professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Outdoor Recreation at Utah Valley University; email: blindley@uvu.edu. MARIA D. BLEVINS, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Communication Department at Utah Valley University; email: maria.blevins@uvu.edu. SCOTT D. WILLIAMS is associate professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Outdoor Recreation at Utah Valley University; swilliams@uvu.edu.


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References Balk, G. 2018. 114,000 more people: Seattle now decade’s fastest-growing big city in all of U.S. The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 24, 2018, from http://seattletimes.com. Buhr, T. 2016. The Alpine Lakes Wilderness: Loved to death? Daily Record. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from http:// dailyrecordnews.com. Bullock, S. D., and S. R. Lawson. 2008. Managing the “Commons” on Cadillac Mountain: A stated choice analysis of Acadia National Park visitors’ preferences. Leisure Sciences 30(1): 71–86. Carter, E. 1996. August 18. Mountain mystique: Majestic Timpanogos casts a magical spell with its lofty peaks and folklore. Deseret News. Retrieved from http://www.deseretnews.com. Ewert, A. 1998. A comparison of urban-proximate and urban-distant wilderness users on selected variables. Environmental Management 22(6): 927–935. Hike Table Mountain. 2015. About Table Mountain. Retrieved August 9, 2018, from https://hiketablemountain.co.za/ table-mountain-hiking-general/. Kudryavtsev, A., R. C. Stedman, and M. E. Krasny. 2012. Sense of place in environmental education. Environmental Education Research 18(2): 229–250. Mount Timpanogos Wilderness. N.d. Retrieved from http://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/ wildView?WID=386&tab=General. O’Cain, P. 2018. February 16. Thousands applying for Enchantments overnight permits. Yakima Herald. Retrieved from http://yakimaherald.com. Perlich, P. S., M. Hollingshaus, E. R. Harris, J. Tennert, and M. T. Houge. 2017. Utah’s Long-Term Demographic and Economic Projections Summary. Retrieved January 20, 2018, from Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. http://gardner.utah.edu/wp-content/uploads/Projections-Brief-Final.pdf. Population.city. 2015. Cape Town: population. Retrieved August 9, 2018, from population.city, http://www.easybib. com/reference/guide/apa/website. Sahagun, L. 2018. April 19. Long-awaited plan for San Gabriel Mountains National Monument limits new mining and energy development. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://latimes.com. Sharp, R. L., J. A. Sharp, and C. A. Miller. 2015. An Island in a sea of development: An examination of place attachment, activity type, and crowding in an urban national park. Visitor Studies 18(2): 196–213. Sierra Guadarrama. 2017. Natural Protected Areas. Retrieved August 9, 2018, from https://sierraguadarrama.info/ espacios-naturales-protegidos/. Soule, K. E., and W. W. Hendricks. 2015. Visitor use, attitudes, and perceptions at Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness. International Journal of Wilderness 21(2): 25–30. South African National Parks. 2015. Table Mountain National Park: Park Management Plan 2015–2025. Constantia, South Africa: South African National Parks. Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. 2018. Table Mountain for nature lovers. Retrieved August 9, 2018, from https://www. tablemountain.net/blog/entry/table-mountain-for-nature-lovers. Tuan, Y. F. 1977. Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. US Census Bureau. 2016. American Community Study. Retrieved from https://censusreporter.org/ profiles/33000US482-salt-lake-city-provo-orem-ut-csa/. Utah Wilderness Act of 1984, Public law 98-428 U.S.C § 2155. Vaske, J. J., and K. C. Kobrin. 2001. Place attachment and environmentally responsible behavior. Journal of Environmental Education 32(4): 16. Williams, D. R., and S. I. Stewart. 1998. Sense of place: An elusive concept that is finding a home in ecosystem management. Journal of Forestry 96(5): 18–23. Williams, D. R., M. Patterson, J. Roggenbuck, and A. Watson. 1992. Beyond the commodity metaphor: Examining emotional and symbolic attachment to place. Leisure Sciences 14(1): 29–46. Williams, D. R., and J. Vaske. 2003. The measurement of place attachment: Validity and generalizability of a psychometric approach. Forest Science 49(6): 830–840. World Population. 2018. Madrid population 2018. Retrieved August 9, 2018, from http://worldpopulationreview.com/ world-cities/madrid-population/. December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness



International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

Decemberin2018 Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness 27 SWS Wilderness Fellow Diana Boudreau the |Ashdown Gorge Wilderness, UT; Photo Credit: Andrew Jackson.


Measuring Forest Service Wilderness Character Trends with Partners Wilderness Character Monitoring Summer 2018 marked the official start of USDA Forest Service Wilderness Character Monitoring (WCM) implementation. Dubbed the “Pilot Year,� 2018 was the culmination of years of research, pilot testing, and interagency coordination. A centralized approach, extensive partner contributions, and local staff prioritization culminated in a successful implementation year, with baselines established for 7% of Forest Service

by Mary Emerick Photo by Talia Jean Galvin

wildernesses. Since 1964, the four US federal wilderness-managing agencies have created policies and guidance to prevent the degradation of wilderness character, as mandated by the Wilderness Act. However, up to the mid-2000s, none of these agencies had established a process to evaluate if their management strategies were effective in preserving wilderness character. In particular, the long-term trends were difficult to measure. Starting in 2001, the Forest Service chartered a Wilderness Monitoring Team with representatives from all four agencies to answer this question and create a strategy to monitor if wilderness character is being preserved. The first national monitoring strategy was published in 2005. In 2008 a team of interagency and academic professionals published Keeping It Wild (KIW): An Interagency Strategy for Monitoring Wilderness Character Across the National 28

International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

by Jacob Wall

Wilderness Preservation System (Landres et al. 2008), and later its replacement, Keeping It Wild 2 (Landres et al. 2015), which provided a strategy for monitoring trends in wilderness character. These documents formed the basis of WCM for all four US land management agencies. KIW and KIW2 utilized the statutory language of the 1964 Wilderness Act to identify five qualities of wilderness character that form the foundation of the current monitoring strategy. These qualities include: (1) Untrammeled, (2) Natural, (3) Undeveloped, (4) Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation, and (5) Other Features of Value (Table 1). Wilderness Character Monitoring consists of monitoring questions, indicators, and measures for each

Table 1 – The five wilderness character qualities (adapted from Keeping It Wild 2 2015).

of the five wilderness character qualities. Measures are designed to analyze potential threats for each indicator to understand trends for each monitoring question. Trends for each measure are assessed as upward/improving, stable, or downward/degrading. When threats to a measure decrease, wilderness character is improved, and when threats increase, wilderness character is degraded. Each agency has developed a slightly different process for selecting measures. In the Forest Service, after years of testing the strategy laid out by Keeping It Wild 2, the agency-specific Wilderness Character Monitoring Technical Guide was published in fall 2018. The Guide requires Forest Service wildernesses to monitor certain agency-standard measures, using at least one measure per indicator, and then allows local units to choose from different developed measures and protocol options. Once a wilderness man-

Figure 1 – Cover shot of the draft WCM Technical Guide

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


ager selects relevant measures, the Guide

The Technical Guide encourages the use of

directs the local unit to complete a baseline

available data to determine how wilderness

assessment that establishes the condition

character is changing over time. In the Forest

of the wilderness at the time of designation,

Service, each wilderness must monitor at

either if the data exist or at the time the first

least 15 measures; however, there is flexibility

time monitoring is conducted. Five years

for local units to choose from a range of

after a baseline is established, consistent

potential measures as well as develop their

guidelines are used to roll up indicator trends

own locally developed measures on top of

to assess the trend for the entire wilderness.

the required number (Table 2). The intent

This information can inform appropriate

was not to collect additional data but rather

management actions to improve areas that

to use the best available science and to pick

show concern.

measures that represent important issues or

Along with choosing measures and com-

challenges for that area. For example, in some

pleting a baseline assessment, Wilderness

cases staff wanted to develop local measures

Character Monitoring also consists of compil-

to reflect unique conditions affecting indi-

ing legislative and administrative history and

vidual wildernesses – such as the presence

documentation and preparing a wilderness

of wind turbines (sight and sound impacts) on

character narrative. Legislative and admin-

forest land directly outside of the wilderness

istrative documentation is compiled into an


organized central repository to concentrate

In addition to complying with the law, Wil-

wilderness information and help wilder-

derness Character Monitoring links the results

ness managers and other staff completing

of stewardship activities and on-the-ground

monitoring in the future. The wilderness

wilderness conditions to the mandates of the

character narrative is a holistic, affirmative

Wilderness Act. Managers can then use WCM

description of the wilderness that provides a

results to establish priorities for stewardship

“sense of place� and addresses the intangible,

actions and determine whether the local

symbolic, and spiritual values of the area that

unit or the agency as a whole is preserving

are often missed in the baseline assessment.

wilderness character. Wilderness Character

The narrative is organized by wilderness

Monitoring also improves wilderness steward-

quality and describes what exemplifies each

ship by providing wilderness managers with

quality as well as identifies what degrades

important information on how individual

the quality as well as likely future challenges

wilderness character attributes are changing

to preserving the quality. These two steps

over time.

set the stage for planning, management, and

In this pilot year, wilderness staff and partners

monitoring, and ideally are completed before

collaborated to guide 29 wildernesses through

selecting measures and writing the baseline

compiling wilderness documentation, writing

assessment since they are likely to inform

wilderness narratives, selecting measures, and

which measures are selected.

establishing wilderness character baselines.


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3




UNTRAMMELED QUALITY Actions authorized by the Federal land manager that intentionally manipulate the biophysical environment

Number of authorized actions and persistent structures designed to manipulate plants, animals, pathogens, soil, water, or fire


Actions not authorized by the Federal land manager that intentionally manipulate the biophysical environment

Number of unauthorized actions and persistent structures by agencies, organizations, or individuals that manipulate plants, animals, pathogens, soil, water, or fire



Acres of nonindigenous plant species


Index of nonindigenous terrestrial animal species

Required to select at least one

Index of nonindigenous aquatic animal species Concentration of ambient ozone Deposition of nitrogen Deposition of sulfur

Air and water

Amount of haze

Required to select at least one

Index of sensitive lichen species Extent of waterbodies with impaired water quality Watershed condition class Ecological processes

Number of animal unit months of commercial livestock use

Required Required to select at least one

UNDEVELOPED QUALITY Presence of non-recreational structures, installations, and developments

Index of authorized non-recreational physical development


Presence of inholdings

Acres of inholdings


Index of administrative authorizations to use motor vehicles, motorized equipment, or mechanical transport


Percent of emergency incidents using motor vehicles, motorized equipment, or mechanical transport


Index of special provision authorizations to use motor vehicles, motorized equipment, or mechanical transport


Use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment, or mechanical transport

SOLITUDE OR PRIMITIVE AND UNCONFINED RECREATION QUALITY Index of encounters Remoteness from sights and sounds of human activity inside wilderness

Remoteness from sights and sounds of human activity outside the wilderness Facilities that decrease self-reliant recreation Management restrictions on visitor behavior Other Features of Value Quality Deterioration or loss of integral cultural features Deterioration or loss of other integral site-specific features of value

Index of recreation sites within primary use areas Acres of wilderness away from access and travel routes and developments inside wilderness Miles of unauthorized trails Acres of wilderness away from adjacent travel routes and developments outside the wilderness Index of National Forest System (NFS) developed trails

Required Required to select at least one Required

Number of authorized constructed recreation features

Required to select at least one

Index of visitor management restrictions


Condition index for integral cultural features

Required if relevant

Condition index for other features

Required if relevant

Table 2 – List of Forest Service Wilderness Character Monitoring measures (adapted from the WCM Technical Guide, 2018)

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


Figure 2 – SWS Wilderness Fellow Matt Quinn in the Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area, AK; Photo credit: Matt Quinn.

Over the next five years all 445 Forest Service

analyst and the Wilderness Information Steer-

Wildernesses are slated to complete this

ing Team (WIMST) tested a new database that

process, with 20% of wildernesses establishing

pulls existing resource information and allows

baselines each year.

for wilderness managers to enter local data

A nationally based Wilderness Character

for some measures. Central team members

Monitoring central team was established to

input measure data into a contractor-devel-

complete high-complexity, low-frequency

oped interagency database, from which trend

tasks to reduce the burden on local units. The

reports can eventually be pulled. Several

team consists of a central data analyst, two

training materials were also developed,

monitoring leaders, a database analyst, and

including templates, step-by-step instruc-

the national Wilderness Character Monitoring

tions, and PowerPoint presentations. The

manager. The data analyst was tasked with

central team held weekly virtual office hours

gathering national data such as air quality and

to assist participants with learning databases,

watershed condition class information and

selecting measures, and answering technical

working to develop statistical analyses. The

questions. An evaluation plan was developed

central team leaders assisted with develop-

to address lessons learned in the pilot year

ment of technical guidance and helped local

and to implement changes for 2019.

units with tasks. The national manager, data 32

International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

Partners Although Wilderness Character Monitoring was designed to complement existing agency monitoring programs and use appropriate existing data whenever possible, the tasks involved can easily overburden local units that have many competing priorities. Partner organizations have become valuable resources at local, regional, and national scales. These partner organizations increase agency capacity, and in 2018 they helped ensure a successful official start of Forest Service Wilderness Character Monitoring implementation.

Partner organizations have become valuable resources at local, regional, and national scales. These partner organizations increase agency capacity, and in 2018 they helped ensure a successful official start of Forest Service Wilderness Character Monitoring implementation.

In the summer of 2018, three partner organizations worked with the Forest Service to complete Wilderness Character Monitoring work – largely the Society for Wilderness Stewardship (SWS) and the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS). The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NMWA) also has been involved, with a specialist completing baseline assessments for several Southwest wildernesses during 2018. All partner organizations employ highly educated and trained young professionals – SWS hires Wilderness Fellows and SAWS hires Wilderness Specialists – and place them across the country to assist local units. Fellows and specialists were hired to match agency needs, and are trained extensively before heading out to local units. Of the 29 pilot wildernesses, 22 had partner assistance in 2018. The Wilderness Fellow and Specialist application process is highly competitive, and attracts applicants with master’s degrees and agency seasonal work experience. Participants generally work from May to November, and may move frequently between wilderness units. Past participants have gone on to work seasonally or permanently for land management agencies. This partnership-based program is primarily funded by internal Wilderness Stewardship Performance funds and by

Figure 3 – SAWS Wilderness Specialist Warren Carver, and Kyle Grambly, recreation program manager on the ChatthoocheeOconee National Forest. Photo credit: Deborah Byrd.

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


partner contributions. Wilderness Steward-

of existing relationships regionally and locally.

ship Performance tracks agency wilderness

Partners had been working with the Forest

actions and is closely tied to Wilderness

Service on wilderness stewardship for years,

Character Monitoring, which monitors the

and the pilot year offered an opportunity to

impacts of those actions. Pilot wildernesses

expand on existing knowledge and expertise.

without partner assistance also received a

Partners completed hiring, conducted

small amount of funding to help with agency

training, and developed standard operating

staff time.

procedures based on prior years’ wilderness

Training for the Fellows and Specialists

work for the effort. Mentorship was provided

consisted of a weeklong course based on the

by program coordinators, and weekly check-

principles and guidance in Keeping It Wild

in calls with all participants ensured that

2 and the Wilderness Character Monitoring

support was available.

Technical Guide. Participants met in two

Lessons Learned

remote locations and practiced writing nar-

Since the intent of Wilderness Character

ratives, choosing measures appropriate to a

Monitoring was to use existing information

case study wilderness, and spent time in the

and not to collect additional data, in many

field speaking with Forest Service wilderness

cases gaps were identified in the corporate

rangers and other staff on wilderness man-

databases once staff and partners began the

agement challenges.

process of measure selection. In these cases

The use of partners to complete wilderness

the data were either missing, incomplete, or

monitoring projects is not a new idea, and

in error. This highlighted the importance for

Wilderness Fellows have been placed in wil-

local units to review their data, particularly

dernesses for the past nine years across the

for the required measures, prior to embarking

country and in three of the four wilderness-

on implementation and to coordinate with

managing agencies (USDA Forest Service, US

specialists since there are often multiple

Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park

data stewards for different resources within

Service). With the help of Wilderness Fellows,

wilderness. It also highlighted the fact that

the Fish and Wildlife Service has completed

monitoring plans for certain resources are in

baseline assessments for all 71 of their wilder-

many cases more limited in wildernesses than

nesses, and the National Park Service has

in general forest areas where projects are

completed more than a third of their baseline

more often proposed.

assessments. For the past seven years Wil-

The untrammeled quality provided the liveli-

derness Fellows have been placed in Forest

est discussion among 2018’s implementers.

Service wildernesses, working on completing

The Technical Guide requires that all trammel-

wilderness character narratives and baseline

ing actions, both authorized and unauthorized,


must be counted every year and monitored

On the partner side, involvement in Wilderness Character Monitoring grew naturally out 34

over time. The Guide provides examples of situations both inside and, more rarely, outside

International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

of wilderness that are considered as trammeling actions. However, questions arose from

tion. Once the Fellows and Specialists were on

unique situations, such as dams outside the

the ground, considerable coordination was

wilderness that flood small areas within the

needed with the local unit and resource

boundary, or fire suppression adjacent to the

specialists to compile documentation, choose

wilderness boundary. In addition, participants

appropriate measures, ensure data accuracy,

had to consider scope and scale when assess-

and determine the existing wilderness

ing which actions to include as trammeling

condition. Often, Fellows and Specialists

for monitoring purposes. Ultimately, asking

were tasked with completing narratives and

two key questions assisted in determining if

assessments for several wildernesses in the

an action should be counted as trammeling:

same region, necessitating their ability to work

was there an opportunity for restraint, and was

independently and efficiently to learn multiple

there intent to manipulate the Earth and its

areas and connect with local staff in a short

community of life within wilderness. Even with

amount of time. Since most of this work occurs

this guidance, local units occasionally had to

during the summer months it is especially

make decisions for unique situations.

difficult to connect with field-going specialists

Another issue involved recognizing scientific

and staff that are called on for fire support. In

advances that could change current Wilder-

the future it may be more beneficial to start

ness Character Monitoring measures. An

wilderness work in the fall and winter while

example is air quality. Currently, the Technical

staff are likely to have more time to assist with

Guide includes monitoring nitrogen and

compiling documentation, verifying and cor-

sulfur deposition; however, Forest Service

recting data, and reviewing drafts.

specialists now believe that monitoring critical

As more partner organizations become

load exceedance is more important. Dealing

involved with Wilderness Character

with changes to measures to reflect these

Monitoring, there will be a need for training

advances, and the impact on obtaining five-

coordination and standard communication

year-trend information if measures change

practices in order to ensure that practices

during that time period will be a continuing

are applied consistently across all regions.


An evaluation of this pilot year is planned for

On the partner side, there were also lessons learned. Forests receiving partner assistance must be able to provide housing, office space,

January 2019 to assess what worked and what could be improved. Overall, there was a high level of enthu-

use of vehicles, and computer access for Fel-

siasm during this pilot year among all

lows and Specialists, along with the required

participants, which was a great asset to

government trainings and background

implementation. Sue Spear, Forest Service

checks. All these steps took a significant

national director, Wilderness and Wild and

amount of organizational and logistical time

Scenic Rivers, summed up the past year when

from the local staff to ensure a smooth transi-

she said,

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


I’m excited and pleased to see the level of commitment and enthusiasm for Wilderness Character Monitoring from all levels of the Forest Service and our partners. This 2018 pilot year has been both challenging and inspiring and I am looking forward to continuing implementation until all 445 wildernesses have a baseline and we can, for the first time, see trends in how our stewardship actions are affecting wilderness character.

MARY EMERICK is a natural resource specialist who served as the Forest Service National Wilderness Character Monitoring manager during the pilot year of USDA Forest Service WCM implementation. Her background is in wilderness and recreation planning; email: Memerick@fs.fed.us. JACOB WALL works for the Society for Wilderness Stewardship as a Wilderness Character Monitoring leader on the WCM Central Team. Last year he worked as a Wilderness Fellow in Idaho; email: J.wall@ wildernessstewardship.org.


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

References Landres, P., C. Barns, J. G. Dennis, T. Devine, P. Geissler, C. S. McCasland, L. Merigliano, J. Seastrand, and R. Swain. 2008. Keeping It Wild: An Interagency Strategy to Monitor Trends in Wilderness Character Across the National Wilderness Preservation System. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-212. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Landres, P., et al. 2015. Keeping It Wild 2: An Updated Interagency Strategy to Monitor Trends in Wilderness Character Across the Wilderness Preservation System. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-340. Fort Collins: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Available at http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/49721. Landres, P., S. Boutcher, and E. Mejicano. tech. eds. 2018. Wilderness Character Monitoring Technical Guide. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-XXX. Fort Collins, CO: USDA, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.

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International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

December 2018 | Volume Number | International of Wilderness 39 Wenaha Wild24, and Scenic3River, Oregon.Journal Photo Credit: Robert Burns


Examining Satisfaction and Crowding in a Remote, Low Use Wilderness Setting: The Wenaha Wild and Scenic River Case Study

ABSTRACT The remote Wenaha Wild and Scenic River (WSR) in eastern Oregon is managed for four remarkable values: recreation, scenery, wildlife, and fisheries. Even on low use areas such as the Wenaha WSR, it is critical that managers understand visitor activities, as well as their attitudes. The purpose of this case study was to collect data about summer recreational use of the Wenaha WSR to help managers better understand visitor use and attitudes related to use capacity. Visitor surveys were conducted at trailheads and camping areas accessing the river. Results indicated visitors were satisfied with their visits, and crowding is minimal. Results are discussed in connection with the recently developed Interagency Visitor Use Management Framework.

by Robert C. Burns


The Wenaha River is 21.6 miles (34.8 km) long, situated in the northeastern corner of Oregon, USA. The River begins in the federally designated Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness Area (within the Umatilla National Forest of northeastern Oregon)

by Ashley R. Popham

at the confluence of the north and south forks of the Wenaha River. The Wenaha Wild and Scenic River (WSR) was designated in 1988, and the Forest Service determined it to possess four outstandingly remarkable values (ORVs): recreation, scenery, wildlife, and fisheries (USDA 1992). The river is surrounded by additional federal and state protected public lands, managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the state of Oregon. The river terminates in the community of Troy as 40

International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

by David Smaldone

it meets the Grande Ronde River, and a small

of the development of the Wenaha River

section is fronted by private landowners and

CRMP (USDA 2015). Federal land managers

business owners.

must address social carrying capacity in order

This largely remote wilderness-setting river

to uphold key components of the Wilderness

provides an excellent case study to examine

and Wild and Scenic Rivers Acts. A capacity

low use wild and scenic rivers, especially those

analysis was completed by the Umatilla NF

with Recreation ORVs. Literature focusing on

in 2011 as part of the Wenaha River’s CRMP

visitors to wild and scenic rivers is relatively

development (USDA 2013). This capacity analy-

sparse (see Keith et al. 2008 for an overview;

sis examined some variables related to social

Smith and Moore 2011), and research specifi-

carrying capacity that focused on facilities and

cally related to visitor capacity (also called

use, such as parking at trailheads, campsite

user capacity, or social carrying capacity) on

use, and group size. A survey instrument

WSRs is very limited. Recent research has

was developed for this case study to provide

emphasized the need to focus not only on

additional data about these items, but equally

river ecology but also to strive to meet the

importantly, to provide information about

high expectations set by river users (Verbos

recreationists’ characteristics and experiences

et al. 2017). Therefore, the purpose of this

while visiting the study area. At the time of data

case study was to collect data about summer

collection the Draft Environmental Analysis

recreational use of the Wenaha WSR to help

(EA) was being developed. The Wenaha CRMP

managers better understand visitor use and

was released in June 2015 (after this study was

attitudes. The focus of this article is to explore


the perceptions of visitors related to activities

Commonly used frameworks to assess visitor

and user capacity, thus crowding, conflict, and

carrying capacity and define appropriate use

satisfaction were assessed (Clark and Stankey

and use levels include Visitor Experience and

1979; Driver and Brown 1978; Lime and Stankey

Resource Protection (VERP) (USDI National

1971; Manning 2004; Manning 2011; Stankey,

Park Service 1997); Visitor Impact Manage-

Cole, Lucas, Petersen, and Frissell 1985; Wagar

ment (VIM) (Graefe, Kuss, and Vaske 1990);

1964, 1974).

Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) (Stankey,

Study Background

Cole, Lucas, Petersen, and Frissell, 1985); and

As the administrative authority of the Wenaha

the Recreational Opportunity Spectrum (ROS)

WSR, the Umatilla National Forest (NF) was

(Clark and Stankey 1979; Driver and Brown

required to complete a Comprehensive River

1978). Most recently, the Interagency Visitor

Management Plan (CRMP). Data for this study

Use Management Council (IVUMC) developed

was collected as part of the larger National

a framework for federal managers to col-

Visitor Use Monitoring Program (NVUM)

laboratively develop, implement, and monitor

effort on the Umatilla NF in 2014. This specific

sustainable visitor experiences (IVUMC 2017).

dataset was collected in an effort to contribute

Within the field of visitor use management,

data about social carrying capacity in support

identifying and then managing visitor use

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


is only one tool managers can employ to achieve and maintain desired resource conditions (IVUMC 2017). Key factors assessed when identifying visitor capacity include evaluating not just the numbers and types of visitation but also visitor perceptions. The important and complex constructs often measured related to visitor capacity include the interrelated variables of satisfaction, crowding, and conflict.

Study Area The Wenaha River is a free-flowing tributary of the Grande Ronde River in northeastern Oregon, where bull trout, coho and Chinook salmon, and steelhead thrive. The landscape is a maze of deep and precipitous canyons, with elevations ranging from 2,000 to 6,400 feet (609 m to 1,951 m). These widely varying elevations support a variety of plants, trees, and wildlife species, and provide prime habitat for Rocky Mountain elk. As noted earlier, the Wenaha WSR is surrounded by additional federal and state protected public lands. This study focused on both land- and water-based recreational areas of the river corridor that crosses federal, state, and other jurisdictional boundaries. For the purposes of this study, the setting is defined as the Wenaha River Corridor (WRC). The WRC study area was divided into five smaller subunits for analysis based on their designated segments within the CRMP: the Wilder-

Figure 1 – Wenaha Wild and Scenic River.


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

ness section of the river corridor (in federally

Troy to the Timothy Springs trailhead. The

designated wilderness), the Wild section of

Wenaha River Trail runs along the north side

the corridor (backcountry but not wilderness),

of the river, but can still be accessed from the

the Scenic and Recreational corridor sections,

south simply by crossing the river. Although

and Non-corridor areas. All are described

there are no bridges, the water is low enough


much of the year to cross in many places.

Wilderness River Section

Wild River Section Non-Wilderness)

The majority (15.2 miles/24.5 km) of the

The remainder of the Wild section (3.5

Wilderness section’s 18.7 miles (30.1 km) runs

miles/5.6 km) is outside of the wilderness, but

through the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness,

still within Forest Service boundaries. It is most

within Umatilla NF boundaries. Four of the

directly accessed by the Troy trailhead. This

six trailheads sampled for this study provide

non-Wilderness area is similar in character to

direct access to this segment. They all have

the Wilderness section.

limited parking and facilities and are located

Scenic River Section

just outside of the wilderness boundary. Visitors leave these areas on foot or horseback and descend as much as 3,000 feet (914 m) to the river. Upon reaching the river, visitors can follow the Wenaha River Trail, which runs 31.3 miles (50.4 km) from

The 2.7 mile Scenic section is outside of the wilderness and forest boundaries. There are BLM, state, and private lands in this part of the river corridor. Much of this section is still remote, providing opportunities for solitude

Figure 2 – The study area. Map courtesy of the Umatilla National Forest (USDA 2015).

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


similar to those provided by the Wild section. From the north, the Scenic section of the river is most easily accessed from the Troy trailhead. Visitors can follow the Wenaha River Trail, which connects to the Scenic section and continues to the Wild section. On the south side of the river, a portion of the Scenic section is easily accessed and utilized frequently by visitors camping on state lands. Car camping is common in this area, a short walking distance from the center of Troy.

Recreational River Section This small 0.15-mile (.24 km) section joins the Grande Ronde and exists within Troy. Although summer months can be quiet in Troy compared to hunting and steelhead fishing seasons, this is a popular take-out location for rafters floating the Grande Ronde. On the south side of the river, state-managed campsites extend into the Recreational section of the corridor. On the north side, the Shilo Troy Resort is a privately owned business that provides developed camping opportunities on the Recreation section of the river. Of these 20 developed campsites, 7 available are located on the Wenaha (the remaining 13 campsites are on the Grande Ronde). At the time of data collection, eight individuals lived year-round in Troy, and utilized the river corridor daily. The Shilo Troy Resort also leases land in Troy to hunters in the fall, who leave their wall tents up year-round for convenience.

Methods Instrumentation An on-site survey was used to collect visitor data. The survey instrument included primarily quantitative items pertaining to sociodemographics, group characteristics, trip characteristics, activity participation, satisfaction, and crowding/conflict. Sociodemographic items included gender, age, education, income, racial and ethnic group identification, and home zip code. Group characteristics included group type (private or commercial) and the number of adults and children in the group. Trip characteristics included whether this was a first or repeat visit, year of first visit, number of days spent here or at other wildernesses or wild and scenic rivers, whether it was a day trip or overnight visit, primary destination, and length of stay.

Data Collection Surveys were collected from mid-June through early August 2014 at trailheads and campsites providing access to the river. Forest Service managers were consulted to determine the best locations and times of day for conducting surveys. They identified four trailheads believed to provide the most popular access to the Wenaha river corridor. Surveys were also collected at campsites in Troy. A total of 74 surveys were collected, which likely encompassed nearly all of the visitation that occurred in the WRC during this summer period (L. Randall [USFS], personal communication, October 2014). Only one visitor declined, yielding a response rate of 98.7%. Whereas in higher use areas more data can be collected and analyzed across various segments of the sample using the recreation area, this was not possible in the WRC due to the small sample size. 44

International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

Results Visitors in the study were almost exclusively non-Hispanic Caucasians. The majority of visitors were male (80%), with a mean age of 44 years. Slightly more than half (56.4%) possessed a bachelor’s degree or higher. Groups in the study area were generally small, and all were private (noncommercial) groups (note – there is currently only one permitted commercial outfitter and guide service in the Wenaha WSR; USDA 2015). Three-fourths of visitors were repeat visitors, and 43% reported recreating in the study area eight or more days in a typical year. Most visits (71.6%) were overnight (average stay was 3.3 nights), and day use visitors stayed an average of just over four hours.

Satisfaction Respondents reported high levels of overall trip satisfaction: 71% reported that their trip was very good or excellent, and 22% reported their trip was perfect (mean = 4.76). Visitors were asked

Table 1 – Satisfaction percentages for trip experience items

















My trip was well worth the money I spent to take it.







I was disappointed with some aspects of my visit. There is a good balance between social and biological values in the management of the river or wilderness. Non-natural noise (aircraft, motorboats, etc.) impacted my visit in a negative way. The recreational areas are in good condition. The facilities or general area at this trailhead are in good condition.































Strongly agree




Neither agree nor disagree

Strongly disagree (1)

Trip experience items I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the river or wilderness. I avoided some places because of trail impacts.

Effect of number of people seen on trip enjoyment How number of people seen at specific locations affected trip enjoyment (9-point scale) No Enhanced my enjoyment Reduced my enjoyment effect (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) N/A Mean On trails 41.9 11.6 16.3 -30.2 ----34.8 2.65 42.3 15.4 5.8 3.8 25.0 3.8 1.9 -1.9 22.4 2.85 At campsite 46.3 7.4 3.7 7.4 27.8 3.7 3.7 --19.4 2.89 On the river 46.3 10.4 4.5 3.0 32.8 1.5 1.5 ---2.76 Overall Percentages may not equal 100 because of rounding. Results are based on answers from 67 total respondents. Table 1 – Satisfaction percentages for trip experience items

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


to rank specific satisfaction items; all were rated highly (Table 1).

Crowding and Conflict Visitors used a modified 9-point crowding scale (Gigliotti and Chase 2014) to report specifically about the effect of number of people seen on the trails, at their campsites, on the river, and then how the number of people seen in total affected their overall trip enjoyment (Table 1). Mean responses indicated that the number of people seen tended to enhance visitor enjoyment a little on trails (mean = 2.65), at campsites (mean = 2.85) and on the river (mean = 2.89), and overall (mean = 2.76). In general, respondents did not encounter very many other groups (Table 2). When asked how many times did you see other groups (today), the majority (86.6%) had seen other groups two or fewer times. A small percentage (10.5%) reported seeing others three or four times, and an additional 3.0% saw other groups five or more times. On average, visitors reported seeing other groups one time (mean = 1). When visitors were asked how many times is it OK to see other groups, the mean response was 1.48. Nearly half (43.3%) of respondents reported that the number of people seen on this trip was about what was expected (Table 2). Only 9.0% saw a lot Actual and acceptable group sightings and crowding Number of times other groups seen (today) 0 times 1–2 times 3–4 times 5 or more times


Valid percent

27 31 7 2

40.3 46.3 10.5 3.0 Mean = 1.00

Number of times OK to see other groups 0 times 1–2 times 3–4 times 5 or more times It doesn’t matter to me


Valid percent

8 10 7 6 34

12.3 15.4 10.8 9.2 52.3 Mean = 1.48

Crowding expectations Frequency

Valid percent

A lot less than you expected



A little less than you expected



About what you expected



A little more than you expected



A lot more than you expected



You didn’t have any expectations



Number of people seen compared to number expected

Percentages may not equal 100 because of rounding. Table 2 – Actual and acceptable group sightings and crowding


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

less people than expected, and 13.4% saw a lot more. Only one person reported that they did not know what to expect. Respondents were asked about an acceptable percentage of time to see other groups while recreating during their visit in the study area (Table 3). Nearly one-third (29.9%) of the sample stated that it is acceptable to see other groups 100% of the time that they are recreating, and an additional 23.9% said that it is OK to see other groups 90% of the time. Only 13.4% stated that it is unacceptable to see other groups. Positively and negatively worded statements were used to assess aspects of crowding and conflict (Table 3), and in general visitors did not report being crowded or experiencing conflict. Visitors were likely to be in agreement with the statements I had the opportunity to recreate Acceptable percentage of time to see other groups 0%






















Percentages may not equal 100 because of rounding. Results are based on answers from 67 total respondents.

Crowding and conflict percentages for trip experience items






I had the opportunity to recreate without feeling crowded.







I could find places to recreate without conflict from other visitors.







Hearing other groups impacted my visit in a negative way.







I avoided some places because there were too many people there.







The number of people reduced my enjoyment.



















The behavior of other people interfered with the quality of my experience.







The other people at the river or in the wilderness increased my enjoyment.







Recreation activities at the river or in the wilderness were NOT compatible. The river or wilderness provided outstanding opportunities for solitude.

Strongly agree




Neither agree nor disagree

Strongly disagree

Trip Experience Items

Percentages may not equal 100 because of rounding. Response Code: 1 = Strongly disagree and 5 = Strongly agree Results are based on answers from 67 total respondents. Table 3 – Acceptable percentages for group sightings

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


without feeling crowded (mean = 4.67) and I could find places to recreate without conflict from other visitors (mean = 4.72). Visitors also were likely to agree that the area provided outstanding opportunities for solitude (mean = 4.68). Responses varied for the level of agreement with the statement the other people at the river or in the wilderness increased my enjoyment (mean = 3.00); one-third (33.3%) neither agreed nor disagreed. In addition, most disagreed that the number of people reduced my enjoyment (mean = 1.64).

Discussion Visitors to the study area reported high levels of satisfaction. Open-ended responses also indicated satisfaction – all visitors made comments about what they liked most about the area, and many visitors spent time explaining these answers. When asked what they liked least, 73% of respondents either specified “nothing” or made jokes about the steep hike out or other similar comments. Better trail maintenance was by far the most common response when asked about suggestions for management, often referring to overgrown vegetation along the trails. They were specifically concerned about rattlesnakes or injury to either their horses or themselves. Also, while fewer visitors suggested it, better signage directing visitors to trailheads was mentioned several times. Data also suggests that crowding and conflict are not a problem in the study area. A recently developed bivalent crowding scale was used, and respondents did report that the number of people seen enhanced their enjoyment (a little), rather than reducing enjoyment (Gigliotti and Chase 2014). Interestingly, in response to the statement the other people at the river or in the wilderness increased my enjoyment, visitors gave a neutral rating (mean = 3.00 on a scale of 1–5) – but also not a negative evaluation. The bivalent scale allows for the visitor to more easily rate enjoyment based upon the instance of seeing no other people, an important distinction when assessing visitation to remote areas. In addition, the actual group sightings (mean = 1.00) were less than the number reported as acceptable (1.48). When asked about an acceptable percentage of time to see other groups while recreating (overall), more than half of respondents stated that seeing others 90%–100% of the time is acceptable. These respondents represented different locations within the study area, not exclusively the higher use Recreational and Scenic sections, as might be expected. However, even though more than 50% of visitors said it was acceptable to see other groups 90%+ of the time, managers would not want to use that as a standard for management in an WSR, as opportunities for primitive recreation activities in remote and undeveloped settings is noted as a desired condition within the Wenaha WSR (USDA 2015). It is also unclear where in their visit (hiking, camping, etc.) respondents were noting it is acceptable to see others on their trip, so further research should address this. Crowding, conflict, and other normative preferences have actually been found to vary based on the format of the question (Donnelly et al. 2000), so using multiple questions to assess them is one way to minimize this assessment problem.


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

However, one important study limitation involved the timing of this study (summer only), which precluded researchers from collecting data during the hunting season when use may increase. It is recommended that managers monitor visitor use during spring and fall in order to fully understand visitor use on the Wenaha WSR.

Managers in other low use areas may want to consider conducting similar studies to gain a fuller understanding of visitor user capacity at low use sites, which could help in setting appropriate standards and thresholds for low use sites. Management Implications and Conclusions The results suggest that the Wenaha WSR is managed appropriately and that visitors are highly satisfied with their recreation experience. Managers in other low use areas may want to consider conducting similar studies to gain a fuller understanding of visitor user capacity at low use sites, which could help in setting appropriate standards and thresholds for low use sites. This in turn would provide managers with the opportunity to focus resources, including time, funds, and personnel, on areas that rate lower in satisfaction (IVUMC 2017; Interagency Wild and Scenic Rivers Coordinating Council 2018). Using adaptive management and the sliding scale approach advocated in the Interagency VUM framework will allow managers to more efficiently manage recreation sites that receive varying levels of use for high quality sustainable recreation experiences (IVUMC 2017; Verbos et al. 2017). Once initial visitor use capacity indicators, standards, and thresholds are developed through appropriate research, managers at low use settings such as the Wenaha WSR can then monitor on longer interval bases, for example, every five years instead of annual monitoring that might be required in high use settings (unless some sort of condition change is noted in the interim) (IVUMC 2017; Interagency Wild and Scenic Rivers Coordinating Council 2018). Based on the results of this study, the Wenaha WSR setting could be seen as a test case for implementing the new VUM framework at low use and remote natural resource sites (IVUMC 2017; Verbos et al. 2017).

DR. ROBERT C. BURNS is professor and director of the West Virginia University Division of Forestry and Natural Resources; email: Robert.Burns@mail.wvu.edu. ASHLEY R. POPHAM is a resource assistant for the US Forest Service, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon; email: apopham@fs.fed.us. DR. DAVID SMALDONE is associate professor of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Resources at the West Virginia University Division of Forestry and Natural Resources; email: David.Smaldone@mail.wvu.edu.

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International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

References Clark, R. N., and G. H. Stankey. 1979. The Recreation Opportunity Spectrum: A Framework for Planning, Management, and Research. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report PNW-98. Portland, OR. Donnelly, M., J. Vaske, D. Whittaker, and B. Shelby. 2000. Toward an understanding of norm prevalence: A comparative analysis of 20 years of research. Environmental Management 25(4): 403–414. Driver, B. L., and P. J. Brown. 1978. The opportunity spectrum concept and behavioral information in outdoor recreation resource supply inventories: A rationale. Proceedings of the Integrated Renewable Resource Inventories Workshop. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report RM-55. 24-31. Gigliotti, L. M., and L. Chase. 2014. A bivalent scale for measuring crowding among deer hunters. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 19(1): 96–103. Graefe, A. R., F. R. Kuss, and J. J. Vaske. 1990. Visitor Impact Management: The Planning Framework. Washington DC: National Parks and Conservation Association. Interagency Visitor Use Management Council. 2017. Visitor Use Management Framework: A Guide to Providing Sustainable Outdoor Recreation. Available at https://visitorusemanagement.nps.gov/VUM/Framework. Interagency Wild and Scenic Rivers Coordinating Council. 2018. Steps to Address User Capacities for Wild and Scenic Rivers. Unpublished technical report. Available at https://www.rivers.gov/documents/user-capacities.pdf. Keith, J., P. Jakus, and J. Larsen. 2008. December. Impacts of Wild and Scenic River Designation. Unpublished Report for the Utah Governor’s Public Lands Policy Coordination Office. Logan: Utah State University. Lime, D. W., and G. H. Stankey. 1971. Carrying capacity: Maintaining outdoor recreation quality. Recreation Symposium Proceedings. USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, 174–184. Manning, R. 2004. Recreation planning frameworks. In Society and Natural Resources: A Summary of Knowledge (pp. 83–96). Jefferson, MO: Modern Litho. Manning, R. E. 2011. Studies in Outdoor Recreation, 3rd ed. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press. Smith, J. W., and R. L. Moore. 2011. Perceptions of community benefits from two Wild and Scenic Rivers. Environmental Management 47(5): 814–827. Stankey, G. H., D. N. Cole, R. C. Lucas, M. E. Petersen, and S. S. Frissell. 1985. The Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) System for Wilderness Planning. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report. INT-176. Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. Ogden, UT. USDA Forest Service. 1992. Resource Assessment, Wenaha WSR. On file at the Pomeroy Ranger District, WA. ———. 2013. Wenaha Wild and Scenic River Capacity Analysis. On file at the Pomeroy Ranger District, WA. ———. 2015. Wenaha Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive River Management Plan. Available at https://www.rivers.gov/documents/plans/wenaha-plan.pdf. USDI National Park Service. 1997. VERP: The Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) Framework: A Handbook for Planners and Managers. Verbos, R., C. Vadal, P. Mali, and K. Cahill. 2017. The Visitor Use Management Framework: Application to Wild and Scenic Rivers. International Journal of Wilderness 23(12): 10–15. Wagar, J. A. 1964. The Carrying Capacity of Wild Lands for Recreation. Forest Science Monograph 7. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. ———. 1974. Recreational carrying capacity reconsidered. Journal of Forestry 72(5): 274–278. Whittaker, D., B. Shelby, R. Manning, D. Cole, and G. Haas. 2011. Capacity reconsidered: Finding consensus and clarifying differences. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 29(1): 1–20. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1271 et. seq. (1968).

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International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

December 2018 |Nelson VolumeLakes 24, Number 3 | Park, International JournalPhoto of Wilderness 53Dvorak Leave No Trace practices promote conservation in backcountry settings. National New Zealand. credit: Bob


Leave No Trace: How It Came to Be

Where did the Leave No Trace program come from? Even in the far past, when population levels were lower, outdoor recreation was less popular, and resultant impacts were less problematic, some people undoubtedly recognized the ecological damage recreation can cause. The effects of trampling on vegetation were noted as early as the 18th century, and concern about recreation impacts on redwoods led to studies as early as the 1920s (Liddle 1997). Some who noticed

by David N. Cole

impact would have recognized the link between impact and their recreational behaviors, altered their behaviors accordingly, and encouraged others to do the same. This awakening awareness was the ultimate origin of the Leave No Trace (LNT) movement.

Backcountry Recreation Booms in the 1960s and 1970s Unfortunately, awakening awareness and resultant behavioral change were insufficient to offset increasing population and interest in backcountry recreation. By the 1960s, wildland recreation was exploding. Papers were written about wildlands being “loved to death,� about problems with overcrowding and ecological damage, and need for management (e.g., Snyder 1966). Since the problem stemmed from increasing recreational


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

Despite being unable to identify the precise origin of Leave No Trace, we can identify by whom, when, and how the Leave No Trace message came to be made consistent and coherent and the dissemination of Leave No Trace messages came to be institutionalized.

use, the solution most often suggested was to identify a carrying capacity and to limit use so the number of recreationists never exceeded this capacity. In the early 1970s, parks, rivers, and wilderness areas started limiting the number of recreationists through permit systems. Increasingly, they adopted rules and regulations – from limits on group size to designating where camping would and would not be allowed. By the late 1970s, voices began expressing concern that managers were regulating the joy and spontaneity out of wilderness recreation – that education

Figure 1 – Burying it in dumps was originally considered the low-impact way to deal with trash in the backcountry. However, as backcountry travel increased in popularity, trash in the backcountry became a huge problem requiring changes in behavior

was a better approach to management than regulation (Bradley 1979; Lucas 1982). In hindsight, clearly the question was never one of education as opposed to regulation. Both are necessary and both have been employed since the beginnings of recreation management. By the late 1970s, efforts to educate recreationists about how to minimize the impacts of their use – what came to be called Leave No Trace – were increasingly common. Rangers talked to people they met on patrol about recommended behaviors on

Figure 2 – At first, attempts to educate visitors about how to lessen their impact were spread word of mouth. Here, a wilderness ranger talks to backpackers in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington.

the trail and in camp. Messages were posted on trailhead bulletin boards and distributed in brochures and pamphlets – Wilderness Manners, Low Impact Camping, and Without a Trace: The Wilderness Challenge. Articles were written, providing tips about low-impact recreational use (Harlow 1977; Berger 1979). Books about backpacking often included

and other groups, including the National

Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and Boy Scouts. Outdoor retailers – such as REI and North Face – put out low-impact messages. Most messages were developed independently, based on the observations and experience of rangers and other concerned

suggestions about how to minimize one’s impact (Petzoldt 1974; Hart 1977; Waterman and Waterman 1979). Educational programs were developed by the land management agencies

individuals. Sometimes messages were inconsistent. Should all fire rings be broken up or should one be left to encourage repeat

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


use? Guidelines were inconsistent. Should

Bear campaign began on August 9, 1944, when

you camp 100 feet from lakes or 200 feet?

the Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed

Terminology was inconsistent. Are we talking

that a fictional bear named Smokey would

about minimum impact or low-impact camping,

be their symbol for forest fire prevention, and

no trace, or leave no trace? Unfortunately it

artist Albert Staehle was asked to paint the first

is impossible to credit all the individuals who

poster of Smokey Bear. Similarly, despite being

developed the behavioral suggestions that

unable to identify the precise origin of Leave

provide the foundation for the Leave No Trace

No Trace, we can identify by whom, when,

program. There were many.

and how the Leave No Trace message came

The difficulty of precisely identifying the

to be made consistent and coherent and the

origin of Leave No Trace is not unique. We

dissemination of Leave No Trace messages

cannot trace the precise origin of efforts to

came to be institutionalized.

educate people about the risks of starting

Origins of a National Leave No Trace Program

wildfires. But we do know that the Smokey

Something like the Leave No Trace program would eventually have developed if it had not developed in the manner in which it did. However, the program we know today can be traced to a particular event – much the way the Smokey Bear program can be traced to August 1944. In the summer of 1985, Jim Ratz – executive director of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) – invited a small group of Forest Service (FS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managers, researchers, and academics to join him and a few NOLS employees on a three-day backpack into the Popo Agie Wilderness, Wyoming. This was shortly after most of these invitees had attended the first wilderness research conference in Fort Collins, Colorado. On that trip, Ratz shared his interest in having NOLS fund wilderness research and partner with the land management agencies, particularly Figure 3 – This pamphlet, distributed by the Northern Region of the Forest Service starting in 1972, was another early attempt to educate visitors.

to improve low-impact messaging and share what NOLS called its Conservation Practices. Ratz’s message was enthusiastically received by trip participants amid discussions about


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

the importance of wilderness education and how it was time to move beyond its disparate and uncoordinated state. All agreed it was time to systematize the message and institutionalize the delivery of that message. Work began shortly thereafter on developing a more coherent and science-based set of lowimpact messages. Funding for this was provided by both NOLS and Forest Service Research to David Cole – at that time a private researcher with Systems for Environmental Management and an affiliate of the Forest Service’s Wilderness Management Research Unit in Missoula. His task was to collect a diverse array of low-impact messages from different agencies and sources around the country. The sources that were collected – close to a hundred – are listed in Cole (1989). These were sorted into a single coherent set of recommendations, after confirming their basis in science and resolving any conflict between recommendations. The first product of this work was a revision, completed in 1986, of the NOLS Conservation Practices – a 10-page booklet with sections on backcountry travel, campsite selection and use, fires and stoves, sanitation, and waste disposal. Recognizing the need to adapt messages to the different environments where NOLS led courses, the next product was a set of regional guidelines, with conservation practices specific to travel in deserts, in areas at high altitude or latitude, on snow and ice, and along coastlines. Both the general practices and the environment-specific practices are reproduced in Cole (1989). The final product of this initial work, eventually published in 1989, was a reference handbook on 75 practices that could generally be recommended (Cole 1989). Each practice was described, along with sample messages and a discussion of the problem the practice seeks to avoid and the rationale for its use. Other sections discussed the practice’s importance, controversial elements, knowledge needs, how frequently it is recommended, and costs to visitors. Four frequently recommended practices judged to be counterproductive were identified, as were eight practices that are only appropriate in certain situations. Thousands of copies of this handbook were distributed. With the wealth of information this effort produced, a logical next step was to develop a book on low-impact practices. Although a few camping and backpacking books included low-impact suggestions (e.g., Hart 1977), no authoritative book-length treatment of the subject had been attempted. Bruce Hampton, an author and former NOLS instructor, convinced Ratz to commission such a book. The book, published in 1988, was entitled Soft Paths, clearly borrowing from the title of John Hart’s Sierra Club guide to backpacking, Walking Softly in the Wilderness. It was subtitled How to Use the Wilderness without Harming It. Like the NOLS Conservation Practices, there was a section on general practices, followed by sections specific to deserts, rivers and lakes, coasts, arctic and alpine tundra, snow and ice, and bear country (Hampton and Cole 1988). In 1990, NOLS and the Forest Service began work on a video version of Soft Paths. NOLS hired Paula McCormick to work with David Cole and senior NOLS instructors on the video. One of the major challenges was condensing 75 practices and 173 book pages into a 30-minute video. In a phone conversation with McCormick, Cole suggested organizing the video around a short set December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


of principles. The first set of six principles he proposed were:

The video was filmed in the Popo Agie Wilderness in 1990 and completed in the summer of 1991.

In popular places, concentrate use and impact.

In pristine places, disperse use and impact.

inconsistent nature of earlier educational

Stay off places that are lightly impacted or just beginning to show effects.

messages, by 1991 substantial progress had

Pack out everything brought into the wilderness.

message. Building on the foundation provided

Properly dispose of anything that can’t be packed out.

– including Wayne Anderson , Tom Alt, Jim

Leave things as they were or in better condition.

A seventh principle was added shortly thereafter: •

Minimize noise and intrusion.

Compared to the disparate and often

been made in systematizing the Leave No Trace by early proponents of low-impact education Bradley, John Hart, and the Watermans – NOLS and the Forest Service had produced a report on practices, a booklet on general practices, regional guidelines to supplement the general practices, a full-length book, a video, and a set of LNT principles. During this same period, steps were taken to institutionalize the dissemination of this information. Jim Currivan, wilderness program leader for the BLM’s Arizona Office, had been on the 1985 backpacking trip organized by Ratz, as well as the Third Annual NOLS Wilderness Research Colloquium, also held in the Popo Agie Wilderness. At that colloquium, Currivan and NOLS’s Drew Leemon discussed the possibility of having NOLS instructors lead a field course for BLM employees to practice arid land camping, traveling, and LNT techniques. With the support of Keith Corrigal, national director of the BLM’s wilderness program, the first course was held in the Eagletail Mountains Wilderness, Arizona, in May 1988. Five more five-day courses were conducted in BLM wilderness areas over the next three years. These courses became the prototype for the LNT Masters courses that began in 1991. The

Figure 4 – Soft Paths, the first book-length treatment of Leave No Trace, was one of the early products of cooperation between NOLS and Forest Service Research.


BLM also partnered with NOLS to produce a desert version of the Soft Paths video.

International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

In 1990, the FS invited NOLS to participate and instruct in the first National Wilderness Training for Line Officers – the first time the FS devoted any significant attention to training their top level staff in wilderness management. In particular, NOLS was to take participants on a two-day camping trip, at which LNT practices could be demonstrated. NOLS instructors participated in this annual training session for many years.

The Collaborative Nature of the LNT Program Is Formalized In 1991, efforts to bring collaboration, cooperation, and consistency to both the Leave No Trace message and how it is disseminated came together. In January, the FS decided they needed a national program to promote wilderness ethics and appointed Bill Thompson as the agency’s first national coordinator. Thompson envisioned a three-pronged approach to education – public awareness, research, and user education. In May, Thompson approached NOLS about partnering in this effort. In June, a formal Memo of Understanding (MOU) between the FS and NOLS was signed, with NOLS agreeing to pilot test one of Thompson’s proposals – a Masters of Leave No Trace course. This course would train a cadre of agency LNT Masters in skills, ethics, and training methods so they, in turn, could train more agency staff and the general public. In the fall of 1991, 10 FS and BLM managers joined with NOLS instructors to pilot test a five-day LNT Master Educators course in the Wind Rivers Mountains of Wyoming (Swain 1996). For NOLS, course logistics were simply an extension of the five-day Low Impact Arid Lands courses they had been running since 1988. They also had a wealth of material readily available for curriculum development. Their Conservation Practices booklet was the basis for a 14-page booklet on general LNT practices, published in 1991, organized according to the LNT principles first outlined in the Soft Paths video. For those interested in more detail on practices, their rationale, and their scientific basis, the Soft Paths book was available. For visual learners, there was the Soft Paths video. This general treatment was supplemented by booklets tailored to specific environments and activity types – something that was easily done given that NOLS regional guidelines had already been developed and Soft Paths had chapters specific to different environments. By 1993, five additional volumes in the LNT Skills and Ethics series were produced: Rocky Mountains, Southeastern States, Backcountry Horse Use, Western River Corridors, and Temperate Coastal Zones. Each was built around Soft Paths and the LNT principles, supplemented by research findings, local expertise, and consultation with land managers. Perhaps the greatest challenge was to develop the ethics and experiential training aspects of the LNT program, although as an outdoor leadership school, NOLS had ideas about this part of the program.

Figure 5 – Participants in the first Leave No Trace Master Educator course held in September 1991.

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


A Forest Service committee decided to

the NPS and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in

name the program “Leave No Trace” – over the

1994. A new Memorandum of Understanding

objections of some who felt the phrase was

between NOLS and the four federal agencies

misleading since it is impossible to truly leave

committed the agencies to oversight of an

no trace. The phrase can be traced to Wayne

interagency program, with NOLS responsible

Anderson, a resource coordinator for the Forest

for development and distribution of LNT

Service’s Pinedale Ranger District in Wyoming.

information. For this purpose, they produced

Anderson was concerned about increasing

and sold booklets, videos, posters, and other

impact in the Bridger Wilderness, particularly

materials through a website and toll-free

by Boy Scouts and outfitters. He developed

telephone number (Marion and Reed 2001).

educational materials aimed at these groups

NOLS also committed to the development and

and, by 1979, had produced a slide-tape

teaching of LNT Master Educators courses –

program called “Leave No Trace.” After he was

many of them unique to specific environments

transferred to the Wasatch-Cache National

and activity types.

Forest, he made 30 copies of the slide-tape

The LNT principles evolved over time.

program, which he distributed to Boy Scout

Quickly added to the original six were “Plan

councils throughout the greater Salt Lake City

ahead and prepare” and “Use fire responsibly.”

area. By 1982, “Leave No Trace” was the phrase

The principle focused on impacts to other

used to describe the wilderness skills program

visitors suggested by Cole, “Minimize noise

of the Intermountain Region of the Forest

and visual intrusion” (McGivney 1998) was

Service (Cole 1989).

never formally adopted, presumably to

Enthusiasm for national Leave No Trace

limit the number of principles. By 1993, the

programs and the train-the-trainers approach

temperate coastal zones booklet included a

grew exponentially. Ralph Swain replaced Bill

“Respect wildlife” principle, but this principle

Thompson as FS national coordinator in 1991,

was not widely adopted. In 1994, the number

and Stew Jacobson was appointed the first

of principles returned to six, by combining the

BLM national coordinator in 1992. In 1993, Roger

three principles on where to travel and camp

Semler was appointed national coordinator

into a single principle, “Travel and camp on

for the National Park Service (NPS), although

durable surfaces.” With the creation of Leave

as was the case with Ralph Swain, this was

No Trace, Inc., that organization’s Education

a collateral duty. Agency coordinators met

Review Committee assumed responsibility

at least once annually, often at the Outdoor

for making changes to the principles. Interest

Recreation Retail show in Salt Lake City. They

in principles related to wildlife and social

also co-instructed some Master Educators

impacts eventually led, in 1999, to the addition


of the principles “Respect wildlife” and “Be

The BLM formally joined the FS-NOLS

considerate of other visitors” (Marion 2014).

partnership in developing, promoting, and

The principles related to litter and waste were

distributing LNT materials in 1993, followed by

collapsed into a single principle and others


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

were rewritten slightly. Since 1999, the seven LNT principles have remained: •

Plan ahead and prepare

Travel and camp on durable surfaces

Dispose of waste properly

Leave what you find

Minimize campfire impacts

Respect wildlife

Be considerate to other visitors

By 1996, 300 people had graduated from LNT Masters courses (Swain 1996).

Figure 6 – Two generations of region-specific Leave No Trace booklets, with the current LNT logo on the left and the earlier logo – used before Leave No Trace, Inc. was created – on the right.

By 2000, the number of trained masters was 1,122 individuals, including staff from the FS (254), BLM (121), NPS (107), FWS (4), and such organizations as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Backcountry Horsemen, Outward Bound, YMCA, university educators, and people from other countries (Marion and Reed 2001). By 1996, 11 regionor activity-specific booklets and curricula had been produced, and 12 different Master Educators courses were being taught across the United States, addressing region-appropriate practices for hiking and backpacking, canoeing and rafting, sea kayaking, and backcountry horse use (Swain 1996).

Creation of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics The success and popularity of the LNT program inevitably led to tensions within and among partners. As interest in materials and courses grew, more resources had to be devoted to the program. Tensions between NOLS and the agencies surfaced, particularly as program costs rose. Other outfitting organizations – Boy Scouts, Outward Bound, and others – wanted a more active participatory role in LNT programs and trainings. As early as 1991, Jim Ratz recognized that the next step in the maturation of the LNT program would be spinning it off into its own organization. At a 1993 outdoor recreation summit, various outdoor industry and sporting trade associations, NOLS, nonprofit organizations, outdoor manufacturers, and federal land management agencies decided to create an independent nonprofit organization. This model was working successfully for motorized recreation, with the private nonprofit Tread Lightly, Inc. administering the Tread Lightly program in a manner that reduced the cost and administration of the program. Tread Lightly, Inc. had been successful in getting private motorized company partners to support the program and provide funding for materials and rehabilitation projects. It was on this premise that Stew Jacobson from BLM and Jim Miller from the FS worked with federal lawyers in Denver, Colorado, to prepare

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


the documents for creating a 501 C3 private nonprofit, and in 1994 Leave No Trace, Inc. was born. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, and now known as the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics (the Center), LNT Inc. was incorporated to develop and expand Leave No Trace training and educational resources, spread the general program components, and engage a diverse range of partners from the federal land management agencies and outdoor industry corporations to nonprofit environmental and outdoor organizations and youth-serving groups. In 1994, the Center entered into the first of a series of MOUs with the four primary federal land management agencies. As reported by Marion and Reid (2001), the organization rapidly gained momentum with the support of 24 agency, commercial, and nonprofit partners. The organization grew from two full-time staff and a budget of $108,000 in 1996 to nine staff and $630,000 in 2000. By 2016, the Center had a budget of $1.5 million and more than 60 partners. It had 17 paid staff, a 14-member volunteer board of directors, 5 advisors from its federal land management agency partners, 48 volunteer state advocates, and more than 25,000 volunteers (Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics 2017). The Army Corps of Engineers joined the original four federal land management agencies under the MOU, and, in 2007, the National Association of State Parks Directors, the governing organization for state parks in the United States, and the Center developed a formal affiliate partnership to expand the possible use of the Leave No Trace program on state park lands. Since 2004, the Center has developed a comprehensive, three-tiered training system, encompassing field courses such as the five-day Master Educator course and workshops that range from one hour to two days. The Center expanded Leave No Trace teaching tools adding educational activity guides, reference cards for various types of outdoor use, and expanding the number of Leave No Trace Skills & Ethics booklets for distinct activities and ecosystems to 16. A Traveling Trainer Program consisting of teams of mobile educators travels throughout the continental United States teaching Leave No Trace and providing grassroots support to build Leave No Trace education and outreach programs at the local level. Research and citizen science programs have been developed. Programs increasingly target frontcountry areas, as well as the backcountry, and an increasingly diverse array of communities and the young. By 2016, LNT programs were engaging 15 million people annually – in the United States and around the world (Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics 2017).

LNT: From Past to Future One can think of the Leave No Trace program as having developed in three distinct stages, each with different main players. The period of initial creation lasted an indeterminate number of decades, ending about 1985. Numerous independent people, mostly field rangers, came up with the original LNT practices, largely in an independent and uncoordinated manner. Unfortunately, who these players were and what they produced will remain largely unknown, although some examples of early low-impact brochures and other printed materials remain. Nevertheless, their work provided the foundation for today’s LNT practices. The second period – one of formation, coordination, and institutionalization – lasted from 1985 through 1994. This is 62

International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

the period documented for the first time in

2016). How appropriate are they and how does

this article. The main players were the land

appropriateness vary across the landscape?

management agencies, particularly FS and

Smart phones with GPS capability are a great

BLM, FS Research, and NOLS. At the end

way to convey place-specific information

of this period, the LNT curriculum was well

regarding durable places to travel and camp

established, with videos, a book, principles, and

and places to avoid, thereby reducing potential

booklets for different ecosystem and activity

impact. They can also encourage inappropriate

types. Outreach and training programs were

risk-taking and encourage more people to

established, funded and guided by interagency

venture off-trail where this increased use

LNT program managers.

causes unwanted trail development and

The final period, one of expansion, began

impact. In Soft Paths and other early LNT

in 1994 with the creation of LNT, Inc. The

materials, when there was a choice between

expansion of LNT programs during this period,

possible behaviors – for example regarding

well-documented by Marion and Reid (2001)

if, where, and how to build a campfire – the

and at www.lnt.org, continues today. Many

alternatives were arrayed, along with their

more players – from LNT staff to corporate

consequences, from least to most impactful,

sponsors, the land management agencies,

leaving people to choose how diligent to

academic partners, and citizens – are involved

be about minimizing that particular impact.

and working together in a coordinated fashion.

Perhaps this is how emerging issues such as

The initial focus on backcountry and wilderness

technology should be dealt with.

has broadened to include frontcountry areas

The nature of the efforts to persuasively

– developed campgrounds and outdoor areas

communicate these messages is even

accessible by vehicle and predominately

more likely to evolve, expand, and diversify.

visited by day users. The Center launched

The Center is developing a robust human

two long-term initiatives in 2016: Leave No

dimensions research program that will allow

Trace in Every Park and Leave No Trace for

it to identify, explore, and implement more

Every Kid. Both initiatives are aimed at better

effective strategies for helping all who spend

reaching current and future generations with

time outdoors reduce the adverse effects

comprehensive information on enjoying the

of their recreation activities. Certainly, in this

outdoors responsibly.

era of the internet, it is much easier to get

As for the future, message content is likely

messages to potential visitors before their

to evolve to some degree. For some emerging

trips. Getting information to recreationists in

issues, it will not be possible to prescribe

the planning stages of their trip was shown

best LNT practices until society clarifies the

early on to be one of the most effective ways

relative importance of different values. The

to increase the efficacy of communication.

burgeoning use of an ever-increasing diversity

It is also much easier to reinforce the same

of technological devices – cell phones, GPS,

messages if people encounter them over and

and the like – is a great example (Carlson et al.

over in different situations. There is little reason

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


to think that programs, outcomes, and positive results will not increase in the future. Although it is impossible to precisely quantify the positive outcome of LNT programs, in terms of less adverse impact on the environment and recreation experiences, there can be no doubt these benefits are both substantial and increasing. This is the legacy of the LNT program that slowly developed over the decades before coalescing into a prominent and successful program in the late 1980s.

Acknowledgments The accuracy of this account was enhanced by helpful input from Rich Brame, Stew Jacobson, Ben Lawhon, Drew Leemon, Jeff Marion, Roger Semler, Skip Shoutis, and Ralph Swain. Visit www.ijw.org for more historical materials related to the origins of Leave No Trace. These include the 1987 revision of NOLS Conservation Practices and regional guidelines included in the 1989 report titled “Low-Impact Recreation Practices for Wilderness and Backcountry� by David Cole.

DAVID N. COLE is emeritus scientist with the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute. He retired in 2013 after a 35-year career as a wilderness scientist. Since his retirement he has been developing a History of Wilderness Science section on the Leopold Institute website, with interviews of pioneering wilderness scientists and papers documenting the history of wilderness science. For more information on the history of wilderness science, visit https://leopold.wilderness.net/history-ofwilderness-science/pioneering-wilderness-scientists/default.php.


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

References Berger, B. 1979. Should campfires come in a can? Sierra 65(1): 69–70. Bradley, J. 1979. A human approach to reducing wildland impacts. In Recreational Impact on Wildlands, ed. R. Ittner et al. (pp. 222–226). Portland, OR: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. Carlson, T., J. Shultis, and J. Van Horn. 2016. Technology in wilderness: Emerging issues and directions for research, policy, and management. International Journal of Wilderness 22(3): 11–17. Cole, D. N. 1989. Low-Impact Recreational Practices for Wilderness and Backcountry. General Technical Report INT265. Ogden, UT: USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. Hampton, B., and D. Cole. 1988. Soft Paths. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books. Harlow, W. M. 1977. Stop walking away the wilderness. Backpacker 5(4): 33–36. Hart, J. 1977. Walking Softly in the Wilderness: The Sierra Club Guide to Backpacking. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. 2017. 2016 in review: Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. Retrieved May 18, 2018 from https://issuu.com/leavenotracecenterforoutdoorethics/docs/leavenotrace_2016annu alreport__1_. Liddle, M. 1997. Recreation Ecology. London: Chapman & Hall. Lucas, R. C. 1982. Recreation regulations – when are they needed? Journal of Forestry 80(3): 148–151. Marion, J. 2014. Leave No Trace in the Outdoors. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. Marion, J. L., and S. Reid. 2001. Development of the United States ‘Leave No Trace’ programme: A historical perspective. In Enjoyment and Understanding of the Natural Heritage, ed. M. B. Usher. Scottish National Heritage, Edinburgh. The Stationery Office Ltd., Scotland. McGivney, A. 1998. Leave No Trace: A Guide to the New Wilderness Etiquette. Seattle: The Mountaineers. Petzoldt, P. 1974. The Wilderness Handbook. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. Snyder, A. P. 1966. Wilderness management – A growing challenge. Journal of Forestry 64: 441–446. Swain, R. 1996. Leave No Trace (LNT) – Outdoor skills and ethics program. International Journal of Wilderness 2(3): 24–26. Waterman, L., and Guy Waterman. 1979. Backwood Ethics: Environmental Concerns for Hikers and Campers. Boston: Stone Wall Press.

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International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

The Samburu people have lived in conflict with elephants for centuries. This elephant keeper even used to throw spears at the elephants. Now, these six-week-old elephants are like his children. Reteti has employed more than 40 Samburu people and has given these villages a reason December to not only 2018 love elephants but to be proud of their existence asWilderness well. | Volume 24, Number 3 | International of 67 of China photo credit Š StaffanJournal Widstrand / Wild Wonders



I bounced around the back of the dusty Land Rover while trying to steady my iPhone camera. Katie was remarking on the first orphaned elephant she ever saved and I wanted desperately to capture the moment. It was a scorching morning in northern Kenya’s Samburu county, and we were on our way to the quarterly meeting Katie and Jeremy had with village elders. Ten minutes away from our destination and 25 minutes after the proposed start time of the meeting,

by Crista Valentino

Jeremy spots one of the elders walking through the barren landscape and slows. “Would you like a lift?” Jeremy yelled in native Samburu. The man climbs in as I replay the video and realize my attempt was worthless. Delete. I ditch my recording efforts and take stock of our new addition. The man’s dark skin is worn from years in the relentless Kenyan sun, and his feet and hands have grown tough from endless miles walked across the open bush corralling cattle. He’s dressed in what I’ve come to understand as “new-age traditional,” which includes the customary and brightly colored wrap around his waist and hand-beaded jewelry adorning his neck and wrists, paired with an out-ofplace Adidas t-shirt. His teeth are spaced and yellowed, and he has wide, round eyes that soften as he met my gaze. “Habari,” he says. Good morning. 68

International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

A generation of new ambition is staring at its future and is grappling with what to do next and where to start.

Figure 1 – Many of the elephant keepers at Reteti Elephant Sanctuary saw elephants as a nuisance and a threat to their communities and livelihoods. Since Reteti opened and began hiring only local Samburu people, the community’s view on elephants has drastically changed.

We arrive at Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, and its setting in the middle of nowhere is also a core reason for the sanctuary’s existence. In the past, orphaned elephants from the region were being rescued, transported, rehabilitated, and released in other parts of the country. At only 28 and 29 years old, Katie and Jeremy saw a community conservation opportunity that would bring jobs, livelihoods, tourism, gender equality, education, and a greater protection of elephants and wildlife to the area. Two years of meetings with the Samburu tribe and other stakeholders eventually led to the opening of Reteti – the first community-owned and -operated elephant sanctuary in Africa, which touts that all of its employees come from the local Samburu community. They also have the first-ever women elephant keepers in Africa. We climb out of the buggy, and Katie gives me a quick tour of the modest grounds set beneath the remote Mathews Range – the open-air kitchen where keepers are mixing unique batches of formula for each of the 12 baby elephants; the barracks where the elephants and their individual keeper spend the night; the whiteboard recording every detail about each elephant on the property. “There is no guidebook to doing this work. It’s trial and error most days,” Katie tells me. Reteti is so remote that Katie had to become a makeshift veterinarian overnight. December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


“An elephant cut its leg and was bleeding

The other half of me flirts with enragement.

badly. There was no way a vet could have

The barrage of articles and commentary

made it here in time, even if we flew him in…so

about an apathetic and selfish millennial

he walked me through how to stitch up the leg

generation flashes through my mind. Would

over the phone.” Katie shrugged as she turned

any of those pieces have been written if the

and walked toward the door. “We need to be

author could see what I’m experiencing? I also

self-sufficient out here.”

intimately understand the challenges facing

An Unfortunate Common Thread

Reteti, Jeremy, and Katie in finding recogni-

Katie and Jeremy’s story tears at me. Half of

tion, funding, and support. I’m fearful about

me is inspired by their vision, their pursuit, and

how their isolation will affect their confidence,

their progress. I’m awed by their resilience,

motivation, and effectiveness.

and humbled by their genuine respect and

These concerns aren’t unwarranted. Over

honor of the Samburu culture and ways of

the last five years, I’ve worked with young

living. I feel hopeful – for the community and

people from around the globe on initiatives

for the elephants – and even allow that hope

aimed at tackling environmental challenges.

to expand into a hope for the future of the

Mostly, they aren’t as large, intricate, and


established as Reteti, but there are common themes that thread their way through a majority of these stories – the isolation, the lack of resources, the uncertainty, the unrelenting passion, the impending burnout. A generation of new ambition is staring at their future and are grappling with what to do next and where to start. Equipped with a worldview unattainable before the ease of the internet, these young leaders have a poignant understanding of their status as it relates to the rest of global society. This leaves them with two options: to be handed a world created for them, or to take part in designing a world in which they want to live. For those who envision change, taking the first step is intimidating all on its own. Once they do, waiting for them is a gauntlet of challenges breaking even the most driven of spirits, driving away new talent, energy, and visions before they often see the light of day.

Figure 2 – Reteti cofounder Katie cares about these young, orphaned elephants as if they were her own children.


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

A Global Connected Community A lack of youth voice and opportunity for advancement is seen across the environmental sector, and is an issue that has been highlighted by global leaders for more than a decade. At the 5th World Parks Congress in 2003, the late Nelson Mandela addressed the crowd in his opening remarks stating,

It is well known that, among those who are preoccupied with the future of protected areas, there are a great many grey heads and far too few youthful ones. I am told that under-representation of the youth is a widespread phenomenon in many fields associated with protected area management. This is of course a matter for concern because without the involvement of the youth, the future cannot be secured. The focus on youth rose again at the 9th World Wilderness Congress in 2009, where one of the 44 targeted resolutions adopted read, to “engage youth and young professionals on substantive issues of wilderness, biodiversity, and climate change.” It was there that the WILD Foundation’s President, Vance Martin, sought to answer this call to action. In the lead-up to the 10th World Wilderness Congress (WILD10) in 2013, Martin approached both Simon Jackson, the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition Founder and Time Magazine’s Hero for the Planet, and me to develop a youth component to the conference. Tasked with developing a space for young people to connect, share, and gain information and support, we began putting together the rudimentary skeleton of a youth delegation for WILD10.

Figure 3 – CoalitionWILD officially launched in Salamanca, Spain, in 2013 at the 10th World Wilderness Congress.

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


What we began to realize was that this was an issue reaching far beyond one conference,

Elevating and Driving Forward “My biggest challenge is convincing the

and that an organization focused on con-

authorities [in charge] that youth-led projects

necting, equipping, and sharing the stories of

can play a very big role in conservation if

youth and young professionals was an oppor-

given the space and support they deserve,”

tunity to address a systemic problem for the

says Kenya’s Kevin Lunzalu, 26. “Grassroots

long run. It was then that CoalitionWILD was

work spearheaded by young conservation-

conceptualized, and the initiative was officially

ists are rarely taken into consideration. This is

launched at WILD10 in Salamanca, Spain, in

why young people cannot afford to dedicate

2013 with the mission to connect and equip

their energy and time to conservation issues

young leaders to tackle our planet’s greatest

and are eventually demoralized. It seems

conservation challenges.

conservation as a source of livelihood is rarely

As a global connected community, CoalitionWILD is surfacing and sourcing young

economically rewarding.” Kevin is a part of CoalitionWILD’s 2018

leaders on the edge of making a difference

Ambassador Cohort – a yearly program

and is propelling them to their full potential as

designed to seek out young leaders poised

changemakers for the benefit of nature. With

and impassioned to drive change and

more than 10,000 members worldwide, and

mobilizing them into action. Through a series

project leaders and ambassadors spanning

of webinars and resources, peer-mentoring,

52 countries, this movement led exclusively

and individualized support over nine months,

by people under 35 years old is ensuring that

participants are tasked with developing a

young people have a voice for change and the

unique action project to carry out by the

tools available to make it happen.

completion of the program. Once the program is completed, participants become a part of the CoalitionWILD network, giving them a platform to share their project, stories, and successes; access to contacts and new resources; and opportunities to further their work and careers. A core element of the initiative is the comradery shared between Ambassadors. “It’s true what Kevin said about the lack of interest on youth-led projects. That vibrant energy is so precious and sometimes can be considered naive by older people. I think motivation is the

Figure 4 – Each CoalitionWILD ambassador is tasked with completing an action project by the end of the nine-month program. Ambassador Kevin Lunzalu’s project involved a trash cleanup in his community in Kenya.


most important thing to protect and promote,” agrees Maga Guanilo, 30, as she faces the same issues in Peru.

International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

With instant knowledge and a connection to

platform to share his story, and connections to

the world at their fingertips, young people are

resources that deepen the impact of his work,

more globally aware, socially conscious, and

Augustin was able to visit 10 rural schools that

poised for action than ever before. They seek

were recently affected by natural disasters.

opportunities for betterment – for themselves,

“I have been to several schools in rural

and for their communities. Most importantly,

areas…to discuss with the children about the

they are driving innovation and progressive

future of biodiversity in Haiti. We taught the

agendas. When young leaders work in isolated

importance of preserving forests, and taking

settings, without advice or encouragement, it

care of the planet,” he explained in an inter-

is difficult for them to sustain valuable efforts

view with CoalitionWILD. “Ten of the schools

over time. Through CoalitionWILD, we are

asked for us to work with them to teach (envi-

using mentorships, peer learning, storytelling,

ronmental) education, and five schools asked

and action resources to develop and expand

us to help design school gardens.”

young conservation leadership, increasing the capacity of the next generation to solve conservation problems, now and in the future. Augustin Dieuseul is a 32-year-old Haitian who, despite the poverty, malnutrition, political uncertainty, and unrelenting natural disasters that have faced his country, still beams with a passion to bring change and hope to Haiti. At only 17, Augustin began volunteering to support environmental efforts. “My passion for working with children, school kids, and orphanages sums up the struggle of [taking on] responsible citizen action to bring about a change in behavior and hope in my country,”

Figure 5 – CoalitionWILD’s ambassador Augustin Diesuel works in his home country of Haiti spreading environmental awareness and ways to help to schools and community members.

Augustin shares. Although driven and ambitious, Augustin still faced the same challenges that Jeremy and Katie from Retiti do: isolation, a lack of resources, and difficulty in expanding his work and his network. When Augustin approached CoalitionWILD with the desire to “work with other like-minded people who seek positive environmental change,” he was invited to be a part of the 2016 CoalitionWILD Ambassador Cohort. Offering Augustin peers to lean on, a

Figure 6 – Haiti ambassador Augustin Diesuel travels around rural Haiti engaging with local schoolchildren and teaching them the effects of climate change.

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


Augustin continues to travel around Haiti, teaching schoolchildren about the importance of biodiversity and protecting the environment while implementing school projects in these rural villages. As Haiti continues to bear the brunt of some of the worst climate disasters and remains on the brink of ecological and

Maga Guanilo, CoalitionWILD Ambassador

economic collapse, Augustin’s work slowly chips away at each of these issues through community engagement, empowerment, and education – efforts that were close to being

We are part of a whole. Let’s embrace it and reconnect with deeper wisdom. Let’s team up with nature and see the healing and blooming of disrupted societies. I am an architect based in Lima and work with Mauricio from Arequipa. We design for social regeneration and the restoration of natural ecosystems. We look for ways to support collective wealth and elevate the quality of life for all living beings. Visit Maga’s blog here: http://wild-voices.org/improving-livelihoods-byembracing-regeneration-of-high-andes-grasslandsmaga-guanilo/

unrealized and underutilized if left to their isolation.

Tensions in the Field In South Africa, 30-year-old Neale Howarth struggles to find his voice amongst higher-ranked and more experienced workers in the field.

My biggest issue is that, in my area, there are not a lot of young people in high conservation roles. When a young person tries to get involved or voice their opinion, they are seen as lacking enough experience to have a say. Plus, most of the older people here have learnt through experience, so are skeptical about new ideas or knowledge and sometimes even seem threatened when suggesting something different than what they’ve been doing. This tension isn’t new. Institutional knowledge plays a critical role in the success of an organization, and sector experience is difficult

to quantify. Most long-standing professionals have gained their information through years of study, fieldwork, and hands-on experience. Their efforts are a result of trial and error, research, and developing methods that quicken the rate of progression. In general, young people learn more quickly and easily than adults (BBC News 2006; Rudeer 2008), and as information becomes more readily available and easily explained, the rate of understanding increases exponentially, allowing young environmentalists to step into the field with the same amount of baseline knowledge as their tenured peers. Yet, when new research and methods backed by science are suggested, the urge to resist change is strong. “As new scientific methods and research are conducted, I find that it is often the argument of current trends and scientific results 74

International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

versus what they’ve seen firsthand and what

conservation issues and contemplate what

they’ve practiced,” Neale continues, “so we

was universal,” shared one of the program

do clash on a lot of aspects such as animal

mentors. “[The program] helped to refresh my

treatments, vegetation control, and other

perspective on my own challenges.”

environmental management tools.”

Although not mandatory, pairs were encour-

Bridging Gaps

aged to meet via phone or video conference

CoalitionWILD is exploring ways to bridge

bimonthly, and were given suggested topics

this gap and foster intergenerational dialogues

to cover during those meetings. Group calls

that address Neale’s concerns. While most

between all mentees and all mentors were

mentorship programs see participants as

held during the program to connect partici-

mentors and mentees – one teaching the

pants to each other while discussing what was

other – CoalitionWILD’s mentorship program

working and to troubleshoot challenges they

facilitates co-learning through co-mentoring.

were facing.

The concept is simple: each participant has as

“My favorite moment [in the program] was on about our third mentoring session when Jordi

much to teach as they do to learn. In Spring 2017, CoalitionWILD launched its

and I realized how similar the social aspects

mentorship program in partnership with the

of conservation are across the world,” shared

United States Department of Interior, matching

2018 mentor Casey Burns. “I think this program

12 pairs for the yearlong experience. The goal

is helpful in broadening perspectives, sharing

was to empower young changemakers with

experiences, and helping to cope with the ups

the opportunity to learn from conservation

and downs in working in this field.”

veterans, endowing them with professional

As CoalitionWILD expands the program into

connections that tie them into knowledge,

its second year, an emphasis is placed upon

networks, and resources that would have

discovering ways to bridge the gap between

otherwise been inaccessible, while offering an

generational learning by providing training tool

outlet for the veterans to share their expertise,

kits to each participant on topics such as Men-

gain fresh insight into their work, and foster the

torship How-Tos, Goal-Setting Exercises, and

next generation of leaders.

Effective Communications, plus many others.

With mentees from South Africa, the Nether-

Funding dependent, we hope to hold regional

lands, United States, Canada, Nepal, United

gatherings for participants where feasible. By

Kingdom, West Africa, Zimbabwe, and Aus-

expediting learning and relationship building,

tralia, and mentors from department agencies

up-and-coming leaders can hit the ground

including the Bureau of Land Management,

running with confidence and credibility to cre-

US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park

ate rapid wins for people and the planet.

Service, Bureau of Ocean Energy Manage-

An urgency reverberates throughout the

ment, and US Geological Survey, the range

environmental sector and beyond. There is no

of experience and interest was vast. “It

longer the luxury of wait and see. It’s not that

was refreshing to step away from my local

past generations didn’t have challenges, or that

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


those problems weren’t pressing; it’s just that typically those problems didn’t involve the loss of 25% of all life on Earth in the blip of 25 years. But that’s the reality the next generation faces. CoalitionWILD believes that young people have the capacity to generate positive change because we have seen it happen firsthand. I believe the greatest challenge we face goes beyond climate change, plastic pollution, habitat degradation, extreme poverty and inequality, or any such issue. In truth, our biggest challenge is removing the barriers to innovation and accelerating change. There are millions of reasons to be hopeful for the future of our planet. Young people are doing great work all around the world, and their work is making a difference. We need more people doing. In the 18 months that Reteti has been open, the elephant sanctuary has rescued 30 elephants, and currently has 35 staff caring for 10 elephants 24 hours a day. Yet, despite these glowing numbers, Katie measures their success in behavior change. “Not so long ago, elephants were seen as giant pests…now the community is so proud of this project. When I see community members, people ask me how each elephant is doing by name. When we’ve lost elephants, everyone feels the heartbreak; when a calf has made it through a tough time, everyone celebrates,” Katie recounts in an interview with Conservation International in February 2018. “Reteti demonstrates what is possible in that people can live the lives that they want and also have a healthy environment; it doesn’t have to be one or the other.” CoalitionWILD is a project of the WILD Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. To support CoalitionWILD and the young leaders they are working with, consider making a donation at www. coalitionwild.org/support. For more information on CoalitionWILD, watch their story at www.vimeo.com/coalitionwild

CRISTA VALENTINO is the director of CoalitionWILD, the North American focal point for IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Young Professionals, and ice-cream connoisseur; email: crista@ coalitionwild.org.


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

References BBC News. 2006. Why the young learn more easily. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6172048.stm. Rudeer, D. B. 2008. September–October. The teen brain. Retrieved from https://harvardmagazine.com/2008/09/ the-teen-brain.html.

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness



International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

December 2018Š| Volume Number 3 | International Journal of Mount Wilderness 79 photo credit Morgan24, Heim, Mountain goats in Colorado’s Evans Wilderness


Book Review: John Shultis, Book Review Editor WILD PEDAGOGIES: TOUCHSTONES FOR RE-NEGOTIATING EDUCATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE ANTHROPOCENE edited by B. Jickling, S. Blenkinsop, N. Timmerman, and M. De Danann Sitka-Sage. 2018. Palgrave MacMillan Press. 140 pp. $69.99 (hc).


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

On a May 2017 sailing trip around remote Scottish islands, a group of environmental educators “aimed to work together in ways that could take us outside of scholarly conventions, open up opportunities for meaningful interactions with the more-than-human world, and position ourselves in a relatively wild place” (p. 12). Being in the wild allowed the group “to think, learn and write differently” (p. xii), and indeed their resulting text is often “imaginative, creative, courageous and radical” (p. 19). The many authors of this book, who wrote as a collective, are passionate environmental educators who firmly believe in the power of the wild and the other species that still surround us. More specifically, the collective believes that Wild pedagogies rest on two premises. First, human relationships with Earth are not sustainable, and second, education is a necessary partner in any transformational project of the scale required to address the first premise. It will not be enough to simply reform existing educational institutions, it is suggested that they must be re-wilded. (p. 23)

Three main topics are discussed: the role of wilderness in reconstructing a new worldview and educational system (Chapter 2), the challenges facing environmental education (Chapter 3) and possible ways forward (Chapter 5), and how the Anthropocene concept can help reimagine the human relationship with nature (Chapter 4). Chapter 2, “On Wilderness,” provides an interesting critique of the wilderness concept. Readers who discount the constructivist perspective may not be pleased with the suggestion that “wilderness, as an idea, has been roundly criticized in recent decades. And rightfully so. This has been particularly appropriate for its clear connection to colonial projects, but also for the way it has descended into banal cliché in our collective imaginations” (p. 24). However, the authors also note that wilderness “is more than a social construct; it exists in a material reality; it lives and has value outside human interests” (pp. 24–25). The Anthropocene concept is seen as an opportunity to improvise new “geostories” that will help reconnect people to the wild and create new worldviews. A key challenge is “how to change educational systems so that they can in turn promote learning relevant to and commensurate with the multiple crises we face, without being coopted by dominant cultural norms” (p. 63). Six “touchstones” – ideas provided to help wild pedagogies emerge in our current neoliberal, humancentered world – are provided to guide environmental educators, including using wild nature as a “co-teacher” in the educational process, which should strive “to defend human and natural communities, to build cultural and ecological diversity, to value and recognize wholeness and integrity” (p. 71). Wild Pedagogies provides a valuable service to educators by critically examining barriers to change and providing wilderness-based touchstones to guide future efforts.

Reviewed by JOHN SHULTIS, book review editor of the IJW and associate professor at the University of Northern BC, Canada; email: john.shultis@unbc.ca.

December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness



Book Review: John Shultis, Book Review Editor IN DEFENSE OF PUBLIC LANDS: THE CASE AGAINST PRIVATIZATION AND TRANSFER by Steven Davis. 2018. Temple University Press. 294 pp. $29.95 (pb).


International Journal of Wilderness | December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3

The arguments over whether, why, and when governments should preserve public lands from private ownership have a very long history. The influence of liberalism (and more recently neoliberalism) in championing the private sector – which proponents argue is more efficient and effective than the public sector – has ebbed and flowed throughout American and global history. As Davis notes, Americans now live in a “perilous age” where political threats to public lands seem to occur on a regular basis. As a result, “This book sets out to offer, at this pivotal moment in the national debate, a fuller, more comprehensive, and multidisciplinary argument for why public lands ought to remain firmly in the public’s hands” (p. xii). In its seven chapters, the book covers many different aspects of the debate over public lands. First, a brief history and the main arguments and assumptions of the free market/privatization supporters are provided; then the biological, economic, and political arguments for and against privatization are outlined. Finally, the present and future strategies for weakening privatization and associated efforts (e.g., transfer to state control) are provided. In this final chapter, Davis identifies four specific strategies. First, the public land defenders are encouraged to “frame public lands as a patriotic imperative” to convince Americans that the loss of public lands is “akin to flag burning” (p. 193). Second, in a similar fashion, defenders should “seize the historical narrative” to create a powerful history of how these public lands came to be (p. 194). Third, land transfers to states – an increasingly common demand in the West – should be called out for truly meaning the loss of public land. Finally, Davis calls for an expanded alliance of public land defenders (i.e., beyond the environmental movement), “a grand coalition that can cut across class, cultural and political boundaries and raise a clamorous and unified roar of disapproval” (p. 196). Davis identifies four key issues and trends for American public lands: (1) the growing population and resulting increased demand for public land; (2) the blurring of private and public conservation areas; (3) changing demographics in America, and (4) climate change issues. Each of these issues will continue to shape public perceptions of the value of public lands. In Defense of Public Lands provides a very timely and cogently argued review of the primary arguments and assumptions behind both the “privatizers” and “defenders” of public lands. Although the contents and findings are not novel, and the book is not an objective assessment of privatization, Davis provides a clear, nuanced set of arguments to retain the public lands, primarily on economic grounds, while also including ecological and political considerations. Public lands need more coherent and powerful support in these troubling times!

Reviewed by JOHN SHULTIS, book review editor of the IJW and associate professor at the University of Northern BC, Canada; email: john.shultis@unbc.ca. December 2018 | Volume 24, Number 3 | International Journal of Wilderness


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International Journal of Wilderness: Volume 24, No 3, December 2018  

The International Journal of Wilderness (IJW) is the tool of choice for wilderness managers and advocates, produced through a unique collabo...

International Journal of Wilderness: Volume 24, No 3, December 2018  

The International Journal of Wilderness (IJW) is the tool of choice for wilderness managers and advocates, produced through a unique collabo...