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Managing Unconfined Recreation Landscape to Techscape Mapping Inner Wilderness Experiences Wild Bhutan


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Journal of Wilderness JUNE 2017

VOLUME 23, NUMBER 1

Features

Editorial Perspectives

4 Wilderness in a Time of…?

An Organizing Framework

BY ROBERT DVORAK

Soul of the Wilderness

5 The Challenge and Opportunity of Preserving Arctic Ocean Wilderness BY BRAD BARR

BY PETER ASHLEY

38 Why Wilderness Should Be Remote BY MARTIN HAWES

43 Half-Bhutan

The Evolution and Effectiveness of Protected Areas in a Country Recognizing Nature Needs Half

Stewardship 8 Introducing the Visitor Use Management Framework BY INTERAGENCY VISITOR USE MANAGEMENT COUNCIL

International Perspectives 31 Mapping the Inner Experience of Wilderness

13 Managing Unconfined Recreation in Wilderness BY C. B. GRIFFIN

BY SONAM WANGCHUK, DECHEN LHAM, NIGEL DUDLEY, and SUE STOLTON

WILDERNESS DIGEST 47 Announcements

51 Book Reviews

51 Wilderness by Phillip Vannini and April VanninI REVIEWED BY TINA TIN

Science & Research 18 Fifteen Years of Change

Campsites in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway BY JOHN J. DAIGLE, WALTER OPUSZYNSKI, and MATT LAROCHE

52 Satellites in the High Country: Searching for the Wild in the Age By Jason Mark REVIEWED BY JOHN SHULTIS

Education & Communication 25 Landscape to Techscape

Metamorphosis along the Pacific Crest Trail BY DANIEL DUSTIN, LARRY BECK, and JEFF ROSE

Disclaimer 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 2

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JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

On the Cover Main image: The Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve, located in China’s Sichuan province, is home to animals such as the giant panda, golden monkey, and takin. Inset image: Spending majority of their lives in trees, the snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti) has a diet of tree needles, bamboo buds, fruits and leaves. Here, a female monkey in the Gaoligongshan Mountains of China feasts on leaves. These images, © Swedish photographer and conservationist Staffan Widstrand, are from the pioneering media initiative, Wild Wonders of China. www.wildwondersofchina.com


International 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 Greg Kroll, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA Vance G. Martin, WILD Foundation, Boulder, Colo., USA Rebecca Oreskes, Gorham, N.H., USA John Shultis, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, B.C., Canada Alan Watson, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, Missoula, Mont., USA EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Chad P. Dawson, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, N.Y., USA Managing Editor Robert Dvorak, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Mich., USA ASSOCIATE EDITORS—International Andrew Muir, Wilderness Foundation Eastern Cape, South Africa; Karen Ross, The Wilderness Foundation, Capetown, South Africa; Vicki A. M. Sahanatien, World Wildlife Fund, Minarut, Canada; Tina Tin, Consultant, Challes-les-Eaux, France; Anna-Liisa Ylisirniö, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland; Franco Zunino, Associazione Italiana per la Wilderness, Murialdo, Italy. ASSOCIATE EDITORS—United States 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.; Greg Friese, Emergency Preparedness Systems LLC, Plover, Wisc.; Gary Green, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.; Kari Gunderson, University of Montana, Missoula, Mont.; Dave Harmon, Bureau of Land Management, Washington, D.C.; Bill Hendricks, CalPoly, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Cyril Kormos, The WILD Foundation, Berkeley, Calif.; Ed Krumpe, University of Idaho, Moscow, Id.; Yu-Fai Leung, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.; Bob Manning, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt.; Jeffrey Marion, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Va.; Christopher Monz, Utah State University, Logan, Ut.; Connie Myers, Arthur Carhart Wilderness Training Center, Missoula, Mont.; David Ostergren, Goshen College, Wolf Lake, In.; Trista Patterson, USFS, Sitka, Alas.; John Peden, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Ga.; Kevin Proescholdt, Wilderness Watch, Minneapolis, Minn.; Joe Roggenbuck, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Va.; Keith Russell, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Wash.; Rudy Schuster, USGS, Fort Collins, Colo.

International Journal of Wilderness (IJW) publishes three issues per year (April, August, and December). IJW is a not-for-profit publication. Manuscripts to: Robert Dvorak, Dept. of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services, Central Michigan University, Room 108 Finch Hall, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859; Telephone: (989) 774-7269. E-mail: dvora1rg@ cmich.edu. Business Management and Subscriptions: The WILD Foundation, 717 Poplar Ave., Boulder, CO 80304, USA. Telephone: (303) 442-8811. Fax: (303) 442-8877. E-mail: info@wild.org. Subscription rates (per volume calendar year): Subscription costs are in U.S. dollars only—Online subscriptions $35; no print journals will be available in 2017. We do not offer an agency discount price. No refunds. All materials printed in the International Journal of Wilderness, copyright © 2017 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.

Submissions: Contributions pertinent to wilderness worldwide are solicited, including articles on wilderness planning, management, and allocation strategies; wilderness education, including descriptions of key programs using wilderness for personal growth, therapy, and environmental education; wilderness-related science and research from all disciplines addressing physical, biological, and social aspects of wilderness; and international perspectives describing wilderness worldwide. Articles, commentaries, letters to the editor, photos, book reviews, announcements, and information for the wilderness digest are encouraged. A complete list of manuscript submission guidelines is availablefrom the website: www.ijw.org. Artwork: Submission of artwork and photographs with captions are encouraged. Photo credits will appear in a byline; artwork may be signed by the author. Website: www.ijw.org.

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


FEATURES E d i t o r ia l P e r spe c t i v es

Wilderness in a Time of...? BY ROBERT DVORAK

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considered finishing the title of this editorial in a number of ways. Wilderness in a time of polarizing politics? ...in a time of climate change? … in a time of rhetoric and conflict? Any one of these examples might illustrate the socio- and geopolitical climate that many of us as wilderness professionals, managers, educators, and advocates are currently experiencing. In part, this title was inspired by a gathering nearly 20 years ago, the Wilderness Science in a Time of Change Conference held in Missoula, Montana in May 1999. The conference produced five volumes of literature that examined changing perspectives, wilderness within larger systems, scientific inquiry, visitor management, and ecosystem threats. As a wilderness educator and scientist, it remains for me one of the most valuable resources in wilderness science. It also highlights that we are again in a “time of change,” and for many of us it is a time that is uncomfortable, troublesome, and surreal. A fundamental concern of the changes we see today are the paradigmatic and foundational shifts in interpretations of science, knowledge, communication, and collaboration. For many of us, advocating for conservation, protected areas, and wilderness are core values and missions, yet advocacy is being belittled as simple rhetoric. Passion, grassroots organization, and citizen mobilization are being characterized as inciting conflict and marginalized as “rabble rousing.” This may not seem new to everyone. Previous generations and movements have strived and overcome adversity to forward the cause of wilderness. But to other generations, particularly the students and young professionals whom I interact with daily, it can be extremely disheartening and discouraging.

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Aldo Leopold’s “thinking like a mountain” speaks that only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of the wolf. The “mountain” is also a perfect allegory of wilderness today. It will remain as we move through this time of change, long knowing what we as humans are unable to perceive. But what will remain in terms of wilderness? What will the mountain look like when all has been settled? Will it be a shell or mere proxy for what is needed for longterm sustainability? I would suggest that more than ever we must as a community communicate our values through collaboration, science, and bipartisan processes. When opportunity presents itself, we must be proud advocates and representatives of the causes of stewardship and conservation. More than any time before now, we have the mechanisms and communication tools to advocate for sustaining the important global resource that is nature. Thus, we cannot shy away from the interactions, conversations, and opportunities to advocate for wild nature in the near future. By seizing those opportunities, this time of change may conclude with a preserved, protected, and expanded value of wilderness. In this issue of IJW, Peter Ashley discusses mapping the inner experience of wilderness. Dan Dustin, Larry Beck, and Jeff Rose examine emerging issues related to technology on the Pacific Crest Trail. We also have a summary of the Interagency Visitor Use Management Framework from the US federal agencies. ROBERT DVORAK is managing editor of IJW and associate professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services Administration at Central Michigan University; email: dvora1rg@cmich.edu.

JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1


FEATURES Soul of the Wilderness

The Challenge and Opportunity of Preserving Arctic Ocean Wilderness BY Brad Barr

For a long time, the idea of wilderness in ocean and coastal waters has been talked about, evaluated, recommended, and criticized, but little progress is being made toward some tangible action that either embraces the idea or rejects it. While we engage in this on-again, off-again debate, there is a place we can agree is, perhaps, “iconic wilderness” that remains unprotected, and its wilderness values and qualities threatened by encroaching human use and development. That place is the Arctic Ocean. At the recent Arctic Circle Conference, held in Reykjavik, Iceland, in October 2016, many warnings were given, and repeated often, about significant and consequential changes in the Arctic environment. There seems to be broad agreement that the environment in the Arctic is changing rapidly, estimated at perhaps two to three times faster than elsewhere in the world. The multiyear sea ice is receding, glaciers are melting away, and the lands adjacent to Arctic waters are becoming exposed for the first time since the end of the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago. Both the human and animal populations of the Arctic are being profoundly affected by climate change. Populations of walrus, polar bears, and seals, which rely on the sea ice as important habitat, are declining in many places. Entire coastal ecosystems are being altered, perhaps irreversibly, by increasing water temperatures allowing the introduction of species never before seen in this region. The people of the Arctic, highly resilient though they may be, who rely on many of these populations for cultural subsistence are finding it more difficult to successfully sustain themselves in the face of this rapid and signifi-

cant change. In the wake of these social, economic, cultural, and ecological changes, communities must find other ways to survive. The Arctic is no longer protected by its remoteness and harsh climate, offering, arguably, much needed economic development Barr. Photo by opportunities. These changes in Brad Hans Van Tilburg the socioecological landscape of the Arctic coast make preserving this iconic wilderness much more difficult to effectively achieve. Interestingly, what we also heard in Reykjavik was that we may have a window of opportunity to get ahead of the coming development. The changes are happening, but some of the commercial development opportunities may take longer than expected to become economically viable. Shipping through the Northern Route and Northwest Passage may not become more economical than use of other traditionally used navigation routes for many years – perhaps into the next century – and the lack of infrastructure (e.g., deep water ports and harbors) will need to be addressed before these polar routes can be routinely used. The Arctic does indeed contain relatively rich deposits of oil and gas, but their development may be slower than expected, until the prices recover sufficiently to make the investment in extracting these resources economically justifiable. Recent actions on the part of the US and Canadian governments in reserving large portions of the Arctic Ocean from oil and gas exploration and development are also a factor in delaying this activity,

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Figure 1 – An Arctic wilderness in the Beaufort Sea. Photo by Brad Barr

but it is uncertain how long these decisions will remain in place, particularly when the price of oil and gas increases, as it inevitably will. Cruise ship tourism in the Arctic is increasing, and a significant number of exploration cruise ships are being constructed to respond to the growing demand, but whether and how much this demand continues to increase will depend on the short-term viability of the trans-Arctic routes, and whether the growing tourism pressure makes the quality of the visits to these places diminish in attractiveness. This demand is likely fueled by the perception that the Arctic may soon no longer be the iconic wilderness we currently believe it to be – a kind of “extinction tourism” – and delaying these visits will ultimately be less gratifying. This readjustment of our collective sense of crisis with regard to what were thought to be imminent changes may offer an opportunity to move 6

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forward with preserving at least some of what makes the Arctic wilderness “iconic.”

“This recalibration of the timelines for Arctic economic development provides not only a bit of “breathing room” to start what will almost certainly be a long and difficult process to establish wilderness protected areas, it also offers the opportunity to achieve this goal in full and transparent collaboration with the people who live there.” No form of statutory protection could possibly alter the trajectory of the changing climate. Yet delay-

JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

ing some directed action to preserve wilderness areas in the Arctic simply because we seem not to be able to agree on the details of what ocean wilderness is should not preclude taking the first steps toward preserving some of the more potentially outstanding examples of Arctic wilderness, both on the land and in the sea. Lancaster Sound, which is in the Canadian Arctic at the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage, has been identified as one of the most critically important marine ecosystems in the Arctic. It is an example of a place more than deserving of wilderness preservation yet has been in review for protection as a National Marine Conservation Area by the Canadian government for nearly three decades. Right now, the wilderness in the Arctic is only preserved as a legacy of its previous remoteness and inaccessibility. While this situation will persist for a while, it most assuredly will not last for much longer. This recalibration


of the timelines for Arctic economic development provides not only a bit of “breathing room” to start what will almost certainly be a long and difficult process to establish wilderness protected areas, it also offers the opportunity to achieve this goal in full and transparent collaboration with the people who live there. Anyone who has worked in the Arctic knows full well that the sorts of collaborative engagement processes essential for establishing protected areas relied on in most other places in the world present considerable challenges in the North, where the population density is low, spread out across a very large area, and quite distant from the offices of the government agencies that will oversee and coordinate these processes. The investment of time and money necessary to achieve effective engagement and collaboration with the people of the Arctic in such an enterprise will be considerable. This is yet another reason why time is of the essence, and any notion of breathing room needs to recognize and embrace this reality. Groups such as the Arctic Council have, since its inception,

been engaged in collaborative planning for protection of places in the Arctic that are critical to preserve its biodiversity, ecological integrity, and cultural value, yet little more has been accomplished than the creation of a number of plans that have not even begun to be implemented. While the situation may not be the “crisis” it might have been originally thought to be, further delaying directed preservation efforts because the potential threats seem to be a little farther off is shortsighted. The challenges to successfully achieving even some limited wilderness preservation in the Arctic are still quite real and will not be overcome easily or quickly. Without question, there will be many reasons put forward that can delay, yet again, some affirmative action to preserve the widely valued wilderness in the waters of the Arctic. A lack of full consensus on what we mean by “ocean wilderness,” the differing perceptions of “wilderness” by the Indigenous peoples of the North, the considerable cost and time required for engagement of the local commu-

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nities in identifying, evaluating, and agreeing upon potential sites, and simply the deep polarization of civil society over issues such as conservation, are all valid concerns. However, experience has shown that establishing any protected area when a tangible economic development proposal is on the table is the most challenging time to try to preserve it. If we are serious about preserving wilderness in the waters of the Arctic, this may be our last, best chance. BRAD BARR has been a member of the visiting faculty at the University Center of the Westfjords in Isafjordur, Iceland, for the past 10 years, teaching courses on marine protected areas, preservation of underwater cultural heritage resources, and Arctic Ocean governance. He received his PhD from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and served in other government and academic positions throughout his 40-year career in protected areas science and management. His research has focused on ocean wilderness, marine protected areas, and place-based preservation of maritime heritage; email: brad.barr@ uwestfjords.is.

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STEWARDSHIP

Introducing the Visitor Use Management Framework bY INTErAGENCY VISITor USE mANAGEmENT CoUNCIl

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uring the past three decades, US federal land management agencies have worked to enhance the public’s connection with the outdoors for purposes of recreation, renewal, improved health, and high-quality time spent with family and friends. Providing and managing for these opportunities is fundamental to the stewardship missions of these federal agencies. At the same time, these agencies are challenged to strike an appropriate balance between societal benefits and resource protection and conservation. Managing visitor access and use for recreational benefits and resource protection is inherently complex. In July 2016 the Interagency Visitor Use Management Council (Council/IVUMC) released the first edition of the Visitor Use Management Framework (Framework). The Framework outlines a planning and decision-making process for managing visitor use across US federal lands and waters. This work is important because visitor use management is fundamental for achieving and maintaining desired visitor experiences and resource conditions. The Framework provides a flexible process for managing visitor use on federally managed lands and waters that can be incorporated, as appropriate, into existing agency planning and decision-making processes. The Framework also helps communicate to researchers, educators, and stakeholders the process by which agencies manage visitor use. The Framework should help researchers design studies that answer critical visitor use management questions and should help educators prepare the next generation of land managers. The Framework builds on lessons learned from previous approaches (e.g., Limits of Acceptable Change and the Visitor Experience and Resource Protection Framework) and is shared by the six agencies that are part of the IVUMC. This article provides an overview of the Visi8

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tor Use Management Framework as well as discusses its potential utility for managers and researchers of protected lands and waters.

What Is the IvuMc? The Interagency Visitor Use Management Council consists of representatives from six federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service (US Department of the Interior), Forest Service (US Department of Agriculture), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US Department of Commerce), and US Army Corps of Engineers (US Department of Defense).

figure 1 – overview of the Interagency use Management framework

The Council’s mission is to provide guidance on visitor use management policies and to develop legally defensible and effective implementation tools for visitor use management. The Council’s primary purpose is to (1) develop interagency

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guidance for effective visitor use management programs that are efficient and legally defensible; (2) identify strategies for improving institutional capabilities and professional competencies, including partnerships; (3) develop shared tools and training, including a unified visitor use planning framework, and monitor their effectiveness, and (4) improve internal and external communication strategies.

The Visitor Use Management Framework Visitor use management is fundamental for maximizing benefits for visitors while achieving and maintaining desired resource conditions and visitor experiences on federally managed lands and waters. By using this Visitor Use Management Framework, managers collaboratively develop long-term strategies for providing access, connecting visitors to key visitor experiences, protecting resources, and managing visitor use. The purpose of the Framework is to provide cohesive guidance on four major elements (Build the Foundation; Define Visitor Use Management Direction; Identify Management Strategies; Implement, Monitor, Evaluate, and Adjust) for analyzing and managing visitor use on federally managed lands and waters. It is also intended to provide a legally defensible, transparent decision-making process that meets law and policy requirements, ensures agency accountability, and provides sound rationales on which to base management decisions and actions. Overall, this Framework is meant to be adaptable to different agencies’ policies and regulations and yet allow for a professional, comprehensive, and consistent approach to visitor use management on federally managed lands and waters.

The concepts presented in this Framework are not new; it is the product of an evolution of earlier efforts, modified to reflect lessons learned. It follows all of the Council agencies’ planning principles and illustrates how to specifically address visitor use management. It is consistent with previous efforts, such as the Limits of Acceptable Change process and the Visitor Experience and Resource Protection Framework. In particular, one of the goals of this Framework is to avoid the limitations of previous frameworks (e.g., limited to specific federal agencies, overly complex and costly, perceived as reactive). The Framework enhances consistency in visitor use management on federally managed lands and waters. The Framework’s elements are broadly applicable to all visitor use management opportunities and issues, including a wide spectrum of situations that vary in spatial extent and complexity. More specifically, the Framework may be used as part of a general or comprehensive planning effort, which typically provides overall guidance on desired conditions, appropriate uses, and general management strategies for different areas within a unit. The Framework may also be used to guide projectlevel planning and management, which typically define actions for specific areas. It may also be used across a series of projects that build on each other and may be applied to internally driven activities (e.g., analyzing a management action), as well as externally driven activities (e.g., a permit request or an action by another agency).

A Sliding Scale Approach This Framework is designed to be highly flexible and adaptable to local situations and needs. Of particular JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

importance is the notion of a sliding scale of analysis, whereby the investment of time, money, and other resources in the analysis is commensurate with the complexity of the project and the consequences of the decision. Issues with clearly small impacts usually require less depth and breadth of analysis than those with impacts of greater significance. This framework was designed to be applicable to a wide range of projects. For some projects, one person might work through the framework to a decision in a few hours; other projects might require multiple years of work by large teams. The Framework acknowledges that there are a variety of factors that influence where a visitor use management issue or plan lands on the sliding scale. These factors include the level of uncertainty about the issue, risk of impacts to resources and visitor experiences, degree of stakeholder interest, and level of controversy/potential for litigation. The Framework includes a decision support tool to help framework users evaluate their issues and projects to better understand the appropriate level of analysis for their plan or project.

The Elements of Visitor Use Management This Framework is divided into four major elements (see Figure 1): 1. Build the foundation. 2. Define visitor use management direction. 3. Identify management strategies. 4. Implement, monitor, evaluate, and adjust. These represent the most basic and critical elements for successfully managing visitor use. In many cases, these basic elements are applicable across the entire breadth of visitor use International Journal of Wilderness

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figure 2 – Elements and steps of the Interagency use Management framework

management projects, regardless of agency. Each element includes steps that provide more detailed direction on the various management topics that support their achievement (see Figure 2). Finally, several concepts are universal to the implementation of the Framework, including application of law, agency policy, the sliding scale, and public involvement. It is important to note that although presented in a linear order, these elements and steps are highly iterative in nature. As noted previously, this Framework is intended to be applied in a flexible manner using the sliding scale concept. The strengths of this Framework are that it is iterative, adaptable, and flexible.

needed to complete the project. They use the sliding scale to determine the amount of effort needed for the steps in this element. Major steps include clarifying the purpose and need of the project; reviewing the area’s purpose and reviewing establishing legislation, agency policies, and other management direction; assessing and summarizing existing information and current conditions; and developing a project action plan, including a plan for outreach and public involvement. Completion of this element establishes a foundation for the other three elements of the Framework and is a key component in developing a solid process.

Element 1: Build the Foundation

Element 2: Define Visitor Use Management Direction

Building the foundation is the first of the four elements of the Framework. The purpose of this element is to understand why a project is relevant and how best to approach the project. The steps in this element help managers understand what needs to be done, how to organize the project, and how to define the resources

The purpose of this element is to answer the questions: What are we trying to achieve, and what will indicate that we’ve been successful in our management over time? Completion of steps in this element constitutes “visitor use management direction.” This direction may be developed as part of a programmatic document

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(e.g., general management plan, resource management plan) or may be more fully developed as part of a plan for a specific resource or activity (e.g., wilderness management plan). Developing this direction is not a stand-alone process but rather is embedded within appropriate agency planning guidance for managing recreation or visitor use, including NEPA compliance and public involvement. Well-defined visitor use management direction communicates a positive vision for the future, provides a clear link for future management actions, and guards against incremental or haphazard change. With clear understanding about the conditions to be achieved, the choice and purpose of management actions is more evident. This helps to ensure that areas are managed by design, not default.

Element 3: Identify Management Strategies The purpose of this element is to answer the question: How will visitor use be managed to achieve or


maintain desired conditions? This element is intended to help managers identify management strategies and actions to achieve and maintain the desired conditions of a project area. Management strategies are general approaches of addressing visitor use management issues, while actions are specific ways of implementing management strategies. This element also describes the identification of a visitor capacity and implementation plans for that capacity. Visitor capacity is a component of visitor use management and is defined by the IVUMC as the maximum amounts and types of visitor use that an area can accommodate while achieving and maintaining the desired resource conditions and visitor experiences that are consistent with the purposes for which the area was established.

“The elements of this Framework are broadly applicable to all visitor use management opportunities and issues, including a wide spectrum of situations that vary in spatial extent and complexity.” Element 4: Implement, Monitor, Evaluate, and Adjust The purpose of this element is to answer the questions: How will management actions be implemented, and when are adjustments made based on lessons learned? Monitoring aids a learning-based approach in which the more that is known, the better staff can manage for desired conditions. The steps in this element show a process for implementing management

actions, monitoring those actions, evaluating monitoring results, and making adjustments to management strategies and actions based on monitoring results. The work in this section builds on previous steps and allows managers to evaluate current conditions compared to the desired conditions as related to results of monitoring indicators. During this final section of the Framework, all the planning and decision-making is put into action. The approach to implementation and monitoring outlined here prompts managers to take action to achieve desired conditions and monitor and adapt those actions to ensure that the current conditions are consistent with desired conditions.

Other IVUMC Products Before the release of the Framework, the Council released two position papers on topics key to visitor use management. These position papers document the council’s position on key components of visitor use management and provide guidance for policy development. • Position Paper 1 – Visitor Use Management on Public Lands and Waters: A Position Paper to Guide Policy This paper defined visitor use management and visitor capacity, clarified how these two concepts interrelate, and outlined how these concepts should be used by managers of federal lands and waters to meet agency goals. • Position Paper 2 – Visitor Capacity on Federally Managed Lands and Waters: A Position Paper to Guide Policy The purpose of this position paper was to document the Council’s position on and recJUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

ommendations for addressing visitor capacity generally, and specifically in accordance with the visitor capacity requirements found in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, National Trails System Act, and National Parks and Recreation Act.

Forthcoming Products The IVUMC is currently developing several companion publications and resources to support the Framework and provide additional guidance on key elements. These products are currently under development and review by the Council and are due to be released and available for use in 2017 or early 2018. • The Monitoring Guidebook: Evaluating the Success of Visitor Use Management The indicators, thresholds, and monitoring guidebook focuses on determining acceptable levels of impact from visitor use, providing guidance on developing a monitoring strategy, and using information derived from monitoring thresholds to evaluate management actions. Throughout this guidebook, the sliding scale approach is discussed, whereby the degree of precision and amount of investment in establishing thresholds and conducting monitoring is appropriate to the consequences of the potential decisions to be made about managing visitor use. • The Visitor Capacity Guidebook This guidebook provides a stepby-step process or “how-to,” guiding the process of identifying visitor capacity as well as potential management strategies to manage the amount of visitor use within the identified capacInternational Journal of Wilderness

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ity. Additionally, the guidebook contains case study examples, an overview of the concept of visitor capacity, and three papers on the relationship between impact and amount of use, including environmental impacts, humanwildlife conflicts, and social impacts. The how-to portion of the guidebook is intended to provide managers with the tools necessary to identify visitor capacity, when necessary and appropriate. The case studies provide examples of a variety of parks and protected areas where visitor capacity has been identified as necessary and appropriate and walks the reader through the steps, highlighting nuances of each area. • Training The council is developing a training curriculum that serves diverse audiences. This series of courses is designed to provide

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an introduction to the Council’s Visitor Use Management Framework. The training series will offer the opportunity to engage in learning about the Framework through specific courses and engage with the content in a way that applies meaningful context for those interested in learning more about how specifically to address visitor use management issues using the Framework.

Conclusion The Framework and its companion publications and resources provide a science-based visitor use management toolbox for land managers and other outdoor recreation professionals. The Visitor Use Management Framework, Edition One provides a flexible process for managing visitor use and is applicable across a wide spectrum of management situations that vary in spatial extent and complexity. As these tools are integrated into the agencies’ best practices and policies

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as well as project applications, it will notably increase consistency of process and product outcomes for managing use on federally managed lands and waters. The Visitor Use Management Framework, Edition One, as well as other IVUMC product and publications can be found on the Council’s website: http://visitorusemanagement. nps.gov/VUM/Framework. Please note that the Framework is a dynamic document, and the Council intends to have future editions as lessons learned are collected from continued implementation. INTERAGENCY VISITOR USE MANAGEMENT COUNCIL is designed to increase awareness of and commitment to proactive, professional, and sciencebased visitor use management on federally managed lands and waters; https://visitorusemanagement.nps.gov/.


STEWARDSHIP

Managing Unconfined Recreation in Wilderness BY C. B. GRIFFIN

O

nce a US wilderness is congressionally designated, land management agencies must manage it to preserve its wilderness character. Wilderness character is defined by five qualities: untrammeled, natural, undeveloped, solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation, and other features of value (Landres et al. 2015). The first priority in the 2020 Vision: Interagency Stewardship Priorities for America’s National Wilderness Preservation System (BLM et al. 2014), is that by 2020 all four land management agencies will have completed their wilderness character inventories to document the wilderness character in each wilderness. Even though solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation is one quality of wilderness character, the latest interagency guidance on how to measure it uses two indicators to measure solitude, one indicator to measure primitive recreation, and one indicator to measure unconfined recreation (Landres et al. 2015). This research project focuses on unconfined recreation. Unconfined recreation was selected because management restrictions or rules on recreational activities are very visible to users; they are commonly posted on signs and kiosks at trailheads and they are listed in various locations on agency websites. Unconfined recreation occurs when there are minimal or no restrictions on visitor behavior. Federal agencies manage for unconfined recreation by attempting to have a rule-free recreation experience for visitors. However, agencies are allowed to make rules that restrict visitor freedom – either to protect the wilderness itself or to protect visitor experience (for example, visitors should experience solitude in wilderness, which an agency may try to protect by limiting group size). Managers must balance providing unconfined recreation with preserving the other qualities that define wilderness character. The goal of the project is to describe the state of unconfined recreation in the wildernesses that make up the US National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS).

Specifically, it will describe the state of unconfined recreation managed by two of the four agencies – the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service (FS). These two agencies manage most of the wilderness units in the United States (669 of the 801 wildernesses). While this research does C. Griffin not reflect all of the wildernesses in the NWPS or all of the qualities of wilderness character, it serves as an important first step in quantifying one of the qualities of wilderness character.

Unconfined Recreation in Wilderness Managers try to use indirect techniques such as education (e.g., Leave No Trace principles) before resorting to direct techniques such as rules to influence user behavior (Dawson and Hendee 2009) in part because it allows users to make choices. Both indirect and direct techniques are designed to protect nature and the user experience. Although increasing rules can help preserve ecological health and user experiences, it is the antithesis of unconfined recreation (Manning 2011). In a comprehensive review of the literature, Manning found that users support some rules (e.g., group size limits) but oppose others such as prohibiting campfires. An interagency group met to develop a document to help agencies develop ways to measure and monitor wilderness character. The document, Technical Guide for Monitoring Selected Conditions Related to Wilderness Character (Landres et al. 2009), has been widely used by agencies as they develop their wilderness character studies. The Technical Guide provides a list of the main types of potential rules that a manager can use to regulate recreation in wilderness. The 11 broad categories of rules are: 1. campfire restriction 2. camping restrictions

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International Journal of Wilderness

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3. fees 4. permits 5. human waste 6. length of stay 7. stock use 8. swimming/bathing 9. area closure 10. group size limits 11. dogs/domesticated animals Virtually every wilderness character report written for the BLM, FS, FWS (Fish and Wildlife Service), and NPS (National Park Service) contains the listing of recreation-related rules that are described in the Technical Guide. These rules exist on a continuum from no restrictions (weighting=0) to intensive restrictions (weighting=3). The weighting of each rule can be modified by the geographic extent of the rules: less if it only affects a portion of the wilderness or more if it affects the entire wilderness. All of the rules applicable to a wilderness are added together to form a composite score known as the index of management (or visitor) restrictions.

Methods There are various sources of data that could be used to describe the level of unconfined recreation that exists in wilderness areas: information posted at the trailhead for each wilderness, agency websites, wilderness character reports, and the database of all agency rules affecting recreation housed at www.wilderness.net. Trailheads are an impractical method for collecting information on the scale of the entire country. Agency websites, while potentially the most current of the sources, lack consistency in terms of where the rules are located for each wilderness. Because fewer than half of the wilderness character reports are completed, it isn’t a complete dataset. Thus, the interagency, publicly 14

International Journal of Wilderness

accessible, centralized database from www.wilderness.net was used to obtain recreation-related rules in wilderness (hereafter referred to as “the database”). The database is housed by the interagency Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute in collaboration with the University of Montana. All four agencies are asked annually to update the rules for each of the wildernesses they manage using a standard template, thus ensuring a measure of uniformity in the database. The database for the wildernesses managed by the BLM and FS is comprehensive, whereas the database for the FWS and NPS wildernesses is incomplete based on comparing agency websites with the information at www.wilderness.net. For example, there are no rules listed for Rocky Mountain National Park’s wilderness on the site, yet the agency website has many rules associated with it. On the www.wilderness.net site, Big Lake Wilderness, managed by the FWS, states that there are many rules that must be followed, but no rules are explicitly stated on the www.wilderness.net database. As such, the FWS and NPS wildernesses were excluded from this research. Every wilderness has its own home page on www.wilderness.net. The tabs common to each page include a general overview, maps, contacts, area management, and wilderness laws. Only the area management page was evaluated (wilderness laws contains a listing of the congressional laws that affect the wilderness). The only rules that were excluded from this analysis were general prohibitions found in the Wilderness Act itself (e.g., banning mechanized or motorized travel unless the enabling legislation for a wilderness allows an exception). JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

An initial spreadsheet was created using the broad categories of rules described in the Technical Guide (Landres et al. 2009). While the Technical Guide has 11 categories of rules, during this research project the categories were expanded to 19 to more fully account for all of the types of rules that were present (see Figure 3 for the 19 categories). Each of the general categories of rules was subdivided into unique rules (e.g., no fires within X distance of a lake, no fires within Y distance of a trail). Some categories of rules have more types of possible rules than other categories (e.g., stock has 49 individual rules whereas hunting has only 3). There were more than 350 unique rules in the dataset. One of the methodological challenges of using the database was determining if the rule really has the force of law or whether it was a suggestion. Unless the information for a wilderness was very clearly a suggestion it was recorded as a rule, as the www.wilderness.net site’s header is “wilderness-specific regulations.” One rare case where the language in the database was not treated as a rule was the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho. The verbiage on www.wilderness.net – before the listing of the “rules” – said “Suggested activities for visitors”; thus, it was treated as a suggestion, much like the Leave No Trace (LNT) principles. Another challenge was determining whether a rule was confining recreational activities. The Technical Guide expressly acknowledged that it didn’t list all rules, especially rules that “do not present significant confinement of the visitor (such as anti-littering regulations).” For this project, there was no attempt made to determine if the rule represented a significant


80

40

70

35

Percent of BLM and FS Wildernesses

Percent of BLM and FS Wildernesses

45

30 25 20 15 10 5 0

60 BLM 50

FS

40 30 20 10 0

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

0

Number of Rules in Each Wilderness

Figure 1 – Number of recreation-related rules in BLM and FS wildernesses (n=669)

16–20

20–25

25–30

92

limiting the proximity of stock to water, trails, and campsites; rules about hitching horses; and whether stock were allowed on trails. Of the 202 wildernesses with stock rules, the most common rule was a requirement for weed-free feed (n=117). Length of stay rules were most often limits on the number of days at 73 one63location, one visit, or various other 55 53 time periods. 38Of the 178 wildernesses 20 17 the most with length of 25stay22 rules, 6 2 common rule was limits on the length for a single visit (n=67). The most common limit was 14 days (n=58). Camping and campfire rules were also common. Camping rules were most often limits on the proximity of campers to water bodies, trails, campsites, and other features, or much less commonly as rules about camping only in designated campsites or zones. Of the 173 wildernesses with camping rules, the most common rule was a setback from trails (n=83). Setbacks from water were also common. Campfire rules were most often setbacks (from water, trails, campsites, elevation). Of the 161 wildernesses with fire rules, the most common rule was that fires were prohibited in some areas (n=59) (this does not include above a certain elevation or distance from water or any

th

St

Le

ng

p

Si

ze oc of k S Re Ca tay m m ov pi in ng g/ St or in Fire g I Do tem gs s /P e Hi Pe ts kin rm i g of ts fT ra il Fo od Fee St s Ot ora he ge Hu r R m an ules W as Co te H m u n Sw me ti im rc ng m ial in g/ Use B Ar ath ea in Cl g os u Cl re im bi n Fis g hi ng

was group size limits (44% of wildernesses) 250 and stock rules (30%) (Figure 3). Few wildernesses have rules about fishing (n=2) or climbing (n=6). 202 200 Table 1 shows the17619173categories 161 of rules as well as the percentage of 150 139 BLM and FS wildernesses that have rules. For example, 74% of the 669 100 93 wildernesses have no rules limiting length of stay, and 23% have one rule 50 about length of stay. Some of the more common rules 0 to group size limits, stock are related rules, and length of stay. Group size limits were reported as limits on the number of people, the number of stock, or a combination of people and stock. More rarely, group size was limited by day use or overnight use, or rules more restrictive in some areas or during certain times of the year. Of the 297 wildernesses with group size limits, the most common rule was limiting the group size of people (n=255). The most common group size limit was 12 people (n=73) or 10 people (n=72). The most common stock size limit was 8, 12, and 25 stock, with 15 wildernesses having each of the size limits. There were more kinds of stock rules than any other category. Stock rules were most often reported as ou

Every BLM (n=224) and FS (n=445) wilderness in the database was examined for this research. Forty-one percent of BLM and FS wildernesses had no recreation-related rules. Thirty-two percent of the wildernesses had one to five rules (Figure 1). The Sawtooth Wilderness in Idaho had the most rules (29) followed by the John Muir Wilderness in California (28) and Maroon Bells Wilderness in Colorado (26). All three wildernesses are managed by the FS. Most (74%) of the BLM wildernesses had no recreation-related rules (166 of the 224 wildernesses) (Figure 2). In contrast, 76% of the FS wildernesses did have rules (334 of the 445 wildernesses). The FS also had twice as many wildernesses with one to five rules as the BLM. The most frequent category of rule

11–15

297

Gr

Results

6–10

Figure 2 – Percent of BLM and FS wildernesses by the number of rules in each wilderness 300

confinement of the visitor, thus, anti-littering regulations appear in this dataset. Coding rules could be developed – and consistently applied – for what constitutes a rule that confines recreational activities, but that should be done with extensive consultation with agency personnel and other wilderness researchers.

1–5

Number of Rules in a Wilderness

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International Journal of Wilderness

15


10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

0

1–5

6–10

11–15

16–20

20–25

25–30

297

300

Number of BLM and FS Wildernesses

250

202

200

176 173 150

161 139

100

93

92 73

50

63

55

53 38

25

22

20

17

6

2

gt

St

Le n

Gr

ou

p

Si

ze oc h of k St Re a C am y m ov pi in n g g/ St or in Fire g I Do tem gs s /P e Hi Pe ts kin rm i g of ts fT ra il Fo od Fee St s Ot ora g h Hu er R e m a n u le s W as Co t m Hun e Sw me ti n im rc g m ia l in g/ Use Ba Ar ea thin Cl g os u Cl re im bi n Fis g hi ng

0

Figure 3 – Number of BLM and FS wildernesses with a recreation-related rule in each of 19 categories (n=669 wildernesses)

other features). It is typically a specific area such as a high-use area. Setbacks from trails are also common (n=45), as are setbacks from water. Fire was prohibited in 28 wildernesses.

Discussion Unconfined recreation is a complete absence of recreation-related rules in wilderness. In high-use areas, rules are necessary if educational efforts don’t work because managers must preserve other elements of wilderness character, such as naturalness or solitude. Based on the rules that are listed in the www.wilderness. net database, 75% of the BLM and 25% of the wildernesses managed by the FS have no rules. Rules are more prevalent in wildernesses managed by the FS than those managed by BLM for several possible reasons. First, there may be fewer rules in BLM wildernesses. Second, the BLM may not report all the rules that affect their wildernesses in the database. Griffin (2016) found this to be the case with FWS wildernesses where there are many more rules on the 16

International Journal of Wilderness

agency website then are captured in the database. These reasons may need to be tested by using another source to confirm that the information in the database is comprehensive – most likely against agency websites. One of the challenges of looking only at the number of rules is that it ignores the severity of the rules, which is more important than just knowing the number a wilderness has. For example, a wilderness may ban camping and campfires, which are only two rules, but the severity of prohibiting a recreational activity is very high, and arguably has a bigger impact on visitors than a wilderness with four rules that each have a very low level of severity. Future research will examine the weighting of the rules, which would take into account the spatial or temporal extent of a rule as well as the intensity of the rule. Some of the most common rules tend to affect few visitors. For example, group size limits of 10 and 12 are much bigger than the typical group size in wilderness (Dawson and Hendee 2009). Similarly, length of stay JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

limits of 14 days affect few users as the average length of stay is several days (Dawson and Hendee 2009). Rules about camping and campfires are often setback distances from water. In and of itself, this does pose an undue hardship on recreational users, but unlike the length of stay and group size rules, camping and campfire rules affect many users, as many people like views of water and want to camp – and have fires – close to it. Stock rules, although common, affect only stock users as opposed to all visitors. There were some areas where managers might want to revisit the rules for their wilderness. For example, given the problems associated with exotic species and horse manure as a major cause of their spread, some wildernesses do not require certified weed-free feed, although they have other rules affecting stock. Some rules seem challenging to enforce, such as no camping, fires, or grazing within a certain distance of a riparian area or a meadow. Other rules conflict with Leave No Trace recommendations, which are indirect means of influencing user behavior, whereas BLM and FS rules are a direct means of managing recreation. For example, LNT principles (2016) recommend camping 200 feet (61 m) from water, yet most camping regulations for the BLM and FS wilderness use 100 (30.5 m) feet as the distance.

Conclusions This research was designed to investigate unconfined recreation in the 669 wildernesses managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. The www.wilderness. net database is an imperfect source of information, but it does at least provide a window into unconfined


Number of Rules Rule

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

Area of Closure

98

2

<1

Camping

74

8

4

6

5

1

1

Climbing

99

<1

<1

<1

Commercial Use

97

3

<1

Dogs/Pets

86

13

1

Fees

91

9

1

Fire

76

14

Fishing

100 <1

Food Storage

92

Group Size

7

8

9

10

References

<1

<1

4

2

2

8

<1

<1

<1

56

26

15

2

Hiking off Trail

89

11

Human Waste

94

1

2

2

Hunting

96

4

<1

Length of Stay

74

23

3

<1

Other Rules

92

7

<1

1

Permits

86

7

6

Removing/Storing Items

79

16

Stock

70

10

Swimming/Bathing

97

3

1

1

1

<1

<1

1

<1

1

0

0

3

1

1

0

4

6

3

4

2

1

<1

0

<1

Table 1 – Percent of BLM and FS wilderness with recreation-related rules by category (n=669 wildernesses)

recreation in wilderness. Although there are rules that confine visitors recreating in wilderness, 41% of the wildernesses have no rules according to the information in the database. Assuming the database is a comprehensive listing of rules, this research has shown that visitors seeking an unconfined recreational experience in wilderness are more likely to experience it in wildernesses managed by the BLM than the FS. However, the database does not capture all the rules that limit recreational activities in wilderness. Managers should ensure that the rules in www.wilderness.net database are complete and accurate for each wilderness for several reasons. First, this central repository of rules makes it possible for researchers to gauge the

the rules from Misty Brooks, Angela Michael, and rest of the students in the fall 2015 wildland recreation management class in Grand Valley State University’s Biology Department.

state of unconfined recreation in the entire National Wilderness Preservation System. Second, some agency websites refer prospective wilderness visitors to the www.wilderness.net site to learn about the rules that may affect their recreational use of wilderness. While knowing the number of rules a recreational visitor will encounter in wilderness is important, it is only the first step in this research. Future research will explore the weighing attached to the rules as well as developing an alternate weighting scheme to more fully capture the extent of unconfined recreation in wilderness

Acknowledgments This research project benefited from some initial exploration of categorizing JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Forest Service, and US Geological Survey. 2014. 2020 Vision: Interagency Stewardship Priorities for America’s National Wilderness Preservation System. Washington, DC: Wilderness Policy Council. Dawson, C. P., and J. C. Hendee. 2009. Wilderness Management: Stewardship and Protection of Resources and Values, 4th ed. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing. Griffin, C. B. 2016. Review of Wilderness Character Studies for Fish and Wildlife Service Wildernesses. Report to the Arthur Carhart Wilderness Training Center, Missoula, MT. Landres, P., C. Barns, S. Boutcher, T. Devine, P. Dratch, A. Lindholm, L. Merigliano, N. Roeper, and E. Simpson. 2015. Keeping It Wild 2: An Updated Interagency Strategy to Monitor Trends in Wilderness Character across the National Wilderness Preservation System. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-340. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Landres, P., S. Boutcher, L. Dean, T. Hall, T. Blett, T. Carlson, A. Mebane, C. Hardy, S. Rinehart, L. Merigliano, D. N. Cole, A. Leach, P. Wright, and D. Bumpus. 2009. Technical Guide for Monitoring Selected Conditions Related to Wilderness Character. General Technical Report WO-80. USDA Forest Service. Leave No Trace. 2016. The Leave No Trace Seven Principles. Retrieved from https:// lnt.org/learn/7-principles. Manning, R. E. 2011. Studies in Outdoor Recreation: Search and Research for Satisfaction, 3rd ed. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press.

C. “GRIFF” GRIFFIN is a professor of natural resources management at Grand Valley State University in Michigan; email: griffinc@gvsu.edu.

International Journal of Wilderness

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SCIENCE & RESEARCH

Fifteen Years of Change

Campsites in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway BY JOHN J. DAIGLE, WALTER OPUSZYNSKI, and MATT LAROCHE

T

he Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW) is a 92-mile-long (148 km) ribbon of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams located in northern Maine. Starting with a chain of lakes controlled by dams, the river drops northward in the heart of Maine’s vast commercial forests. A canoe trip to complete the length of the watercourse typically takes eight days and features 9 miles (14.5 km) of Class II–III whitewater and a portage around the 40-foot (12.2 m) Allagash Falls. The state of Maine enacted legislation in 1966 establishing the AWW, and in 1970 it was the first state-administered area to be included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System designated as “wild” by the secretary of the interior at the request of the governor. Harris et al. (2012) note that some characteristics make the waterway unique while others create management tensions. For example, the Federal Register in which the AWW was accepted by the secretary of interior as a wild river reflects some of the AWW’s controversy since it was accepted as a wild river despite having three dams with impoundments (US Public Law 90-542; Allagash Wilderness Waterway 1970; National Park Service [NPS] and US Forest Service [USFS] 1982). Also, there are developments within the AWW not typical of “wild” designated rivers, such as multiple access points by gravel roads and amenities at campsites including picnic tables and ridgepoles (NPS and USFS 1982). The management of the AWW is conducted by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, Bureau of Parks. In 1999, a management plan was approved for the AWW that established a concept defining “wilderness character” for the Restricted Zone and the watercourse, drawing from the federal wilderness definition (Wilderness Act 1964), with emphasis on preserving natural character and solitude but also 18

International Journal of Wilderness

John J. Daigle

Walter Opuszynski

Matt Laroche

recognizing the challenges of other statutory provisions of the AWW. For example, the AWW statute allows uses that are not usually found in wilderness areas of the National Wilderness Preservation System: large motors are allowed on boats on Telos and Chamberlain Lakes; motors of up to 10 horsepower are allowed on canoes elsewhere, except Allagash Lake and stream; floatplanes are allowed to land and take off from designated areas; timber harvesting is allowed within 1 mile (1.6 km) of the bounds of the watercourse outside of the Restricted Zone; and snowmobiling is allowed on designated trails and areas. Providing quality recreational experiences while preserving the natural character of the AWW poses some significant management challenges. Primary among these is the unique combination of natural setting and accessibility, and nearness to major population centers in the United States and Canada. The AWW is within a day’s drive of 32 million people and is known regionally as an excellent canoe trip with summer water and relatively easy, enjoyable white water. Although visitation had declined at the AWW from the peak visitation periods of the 1970s and 1980s, a national assessment of demand and supply trends (Cordell et al. 1999) and the Maine State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan have predicted increases in the visitor demand for remote recreation opportunities.

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Campsite Assessments in 1999

attributes, and those attributes receiving the highest proportion of “very important” or important” ratings included amount of litter present at campsite (96%), level ground for tent at campsite (94%), dry ground at campsite (94%), ability to locate an available campsite when ready to stop (86%), being out of sight or sound or other campers (84%), and the amount of vegetation screening between campsites (80%).

The expected increase in visitation to the AWW and the desire of management to establish a monitoring system led to an extensive three-summer inventory of campsites and their condition starting in 1999 (Daigle, Speirs, and Wallace 2002). Given the desire to preserve natural conditions at campsites, 12 different measurements were made to assess the level of natural conditions – for example, damaged trees, loss of ground cover at campsites, amount of vegetative screening between campsites, and campsite area.

Visitor Survey 2003 A survey of AWW visitors was implemented in 2003 to better understand who visits the watercourse, including their activities, method of travel on the waterway, length of stay, types of groups, previous experience, place of residence, why they visit, experiences and level of satisfaction, and assessment of travel and camping conditions encountered. The survey helped to identify the importance of certain campsite attributes, including preferences for resource and social conditions encountered at campsites and while traveling on the AWW (Daigle 2005). Some of the highlights of the visitor study that helped guide the campsite assessments were as follows: • In spite of high visitor approval ratings of their overall trip experience, nearly one-half of visitors rejected the first available campsite because of its condition (e.g., lack of vegetation ground cover, erosion) or location (e.g., proximity to another occupied campsite, the area having a cluster of campsites). • AWW visitors rated the importance of campsite

“Providing quality recreational experiences while preserving the natural character of the AWW poses some significant management challenges.” •

Those campsite attributes or conditions receiving the highest proportion of “slightly important” or “not at all important” ratings by visitors included number of trees with exposed roots at campsite (71%), and number of trails/paths at campsites other than trails to privy and water access (66%). Matching the experiences visitors seek with opportunity settings best suited to providing those experiences is one of the major challenges to the outdoor recreation manager (Clark and Stankey 1979). For example, litter and other signs of visitor use impacts appear to be more important to recreation users as compared to management-related impacts such as signs and presence of rangers. JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

Campsite Assessments in 2014 The state of Maine approved a new management plan for the AWW in 2012. An identified goal of the plan was the implementation of a new inventory of campsites and their condition. Based on needs identified by management, replication of some measurements from the first study in 1999–2001 were repeated in 2014: (1) campsite area, (2) core area barren of vegetation, (3) vegetative screening between campsites, and (4) vegetative screening between campsite and water. New measurements that focused on soil erosion at water access points were added, even though it was not included in the first study.

Methods In this article, we report findings from both assessment studies to examine change on campsites in the AWW. We focus on aspects of change that have comparable data between the two studies: the total number of campsites, campsite overall size, campsite core area barren of vegetation at campsites, and changes in vegetative screening between campsites. More detailed information on the campsite assessments and other campsite condition measurements are available in Daigle, Speirs, and Wallace (2002) and Opuszynski, Kacir, and Shumway (2015). Visitors to the AWW are directed to stay at designated campsite areas that have signs viewable from the water, and more than half of the campsite areas have multiple physical campsites. In the management plans for the watercourse these designated camping areas are labeled as campsites, and many campsites are multi-cell (2–5 cells or campsites). A multi-cell campsite (sometimes called a campsite cluster or camping International Journal of Wilderness

19


area) is actually multiple campsites that have their own picnic table, ridgepole, fire pit, and tent site, and share a bathroom facility and are located near a starting point or popular access points along the watercourse and near portages. In the first study, all campsites at a camping area were inventoried from a center point with a GPS receiver, and the data collected in the field were entered into MapInfo mapping software to create campsite maps. A metal pin was buried several inches below the ground at the center point of the campsite. Numerous photographs with azimuth readings were taken of the camping area, and campsites were recorded with directions to features such as the center point in relation to signature features such as nearby large rocks or trees. All of this information was utilized as a reference to locate the campsites in the second study. Readers should be aware that several metal pins were not relocated, so other information was used to reestablish center points and conduct subsequent measurements. Similar to the first study, a center point was located with a GPS receiver, and the data collected in the field was later entered into QGIS software to create campsite maps. Digital photographs were taken to help verify campsite locations as well as to portray visual changes in campsite condition between study periods. In both studies, no attempt was made to investigate if any other visitorcreated campsites existed along the shores of the waterway. To assess changes in the condition of campsites, data were compared that measured in each study period the campsite core area (the central portion of the campsite that was largely devoid of 20

International Journal of Wilderness

vegetation) and campsite area (the outer boundary of the campsite). The campsite core is the highly impacted area where vegetation and organic litter cover had been eliminated, exposing mineral soil and/or rock. The campsite core area usually included the heavily used area near the fire pit and picnic table. In a few instances, campsites were clustered so close to each other that it was difficult to determine where the edge of one campsite boundary ended and the other began, so the evaluators used their best judgment to decide on the campsite boundaries. In the first study, radius measurements were made from the center point in the campsite core to the perimeter of the core area and edge of the campsite every 22.5 degrees, making for 16 radius measurements. In the second study there was limited time for data collection, so radius measurements from the center point were reduced to every 45 degrees with 8 radius measurements. By changing these techniques in measurement, the potential error rate of calculating the core and campsite areas were increased. The 16 transect method has a percent error rate of about 8%, while the 8 transect method has a percent error rate of about 22% (Marion 1991). During both campsite condition assessments, the vegetation screening between campsites were rated with three impact categories labeled (1) vegetation sufficient so that no other campsites are visible, (3) campsites are somewhat visible with partial vegetative screening, or (5) campsites are visible to each other with no vegetative screening. Photos taken in the first study to make the assessments were used in the second study as a reference for consistency in rating of vegetation between campsites. JUNE 2017 • VolUmE 23, NUmbEr 1

Results of the two campsite inventory studies were compared to estimate general AWW-wide trends in campsite conditions and to further assess the effectiveness of some management strategies that had been implemented in some locations. In the first study, the cell area was measured in m2 and in the second study measured in ft2, so data were converted into one comparable measurement unit. The campsite area was converted into a condition class assessment with 1=up to 100 m2; 2=101–200 m2; 3=201–300 m2; 4=301–400 m2; and 5=over 401 m2. We report the number of sites on which that parameter increased, decreased, or stayed the same over the 15-year study period.

results A total of 77 camping areas and 146 campsites were inventoried during the first assessment period of 1999 through 2001, and a slight reduction was observed in 2014, with a total of 76 camping areas 1999

2014

figure 1 – camping cell area increased in some instances as a result of management relocating the fire pit and picnic table farther away from water.


Size Classes for Campsite Area (square meters) Up to 100

101–200

201–300

301–400

Over 400

1999-2001

16

60

45

6

4

2014

25

57

30

14

5

Change

+9

-3

-15

+8

+1

table 1 – distribution of campsites by size class

1999

2000

2014

2014

figure 2 – Many of the observed changes during the 15-year period were a decrease in the amount of vegetation cover loss at camping cells.

and 131 campsites. The change in the number of campsites was due in part to management actions that reduced multiple campsites in a camping area to fewer campsites to improve the user experience by increasing the vegetative screening between campsite cells. Additionally, other campsites were modified by management to accommodate more tent sites, and a few had been relocated or repaired where campsites had previously been located in wet areas (Figure 1). Overall, the footprint of total impact (campsite area) changed very little from 1999 (146 campsites=27,618 m2) to 2014 (131 campsites=25,226 m2). Therefore,

figure 3 – A few camping cells rated for vegetation screening changed from class 3 “partial vegetation screening” to class 1 “total vegetation screening” as a result of management reducing the number of cells at a multi-cell campsite during the 15-year period.

we focus the subsequent reporting on the comparable 131 campsites in both study periods. The median campsite area decreased slightly (8 m2) between 1999 and 2014. A slightly higher number of campsites were reduced in size (68 campsites) as compared to those that increased in size due to visitor use or management actions (63 campsites) (Table 1). Although stability was the norm during the 15-year period, dramatic differences were observed in the impacted area for some campsites, and those that experienced more dramatic change (five campsites actually doubled in size) tended to be located at high-use areas.

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Even though the overall total footprint of all campsite areas was relatively constant over the 15-year period, there were some shifts between the size classes of individual campsites (Table 1). There were more campsites in 2014 that were class 1 or up to 100 m2 compared to the 1999 study. Conversely, several campsites have become very large, with an increase in the number of campsites within class 4 or class 5. Several of the campsite areas with multiple cells reportedly shifted to a larger class size, and this may need management attention for several reasons. First, campsites at this size may compromise the visitor experience or appear impacted too much by visitor use. Second, the enlargement of a campsite area may reduce the amount of vegetative screening and jeopardize seclusion from other campers in a nearby campsite. Another visitor survey of use and user characteristics along with measures of experience preferences would assist managers and direct needed attention to some impacted campsite areas of the AWW. During the 15-year period of the study, average conditions of the core areas that were barren of vegetation improved slightly on the 131 campsites. The median core area of barren vegetation was the same for both assessment periods; however, 69 campsites had gained more groundcover vegetation as compared to those that experienced more loss of vegetation ground cover (61 campsites). Only one campsite was unchanged in terms of core area of barren vegetation. The increases observed at campsites in relation to vegetation cover tended to be grass species that are resilient and resistant to visitor use (Figure 2). The total number of visitor camping nights decreased between assessment periods, International Journal of Wilderness

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Figure 4 – More than 90% of visitors reported seeing moose on their trip in the 2003 visitor survey

and this may have given opportunity for vegetation to recover at some campsites (Harris et al. 2012). Of the 61 campsites that experienced an increase in core area of barren vegetation, 7 campsites experienced a doubling of core area of barren vegetation compared to the first assessment period. These campsites were located in areas with high visitor use and dark shaded overstory conditions. A total of 25 campsites, with multiple campsites in a camping area, experienced enough vegetative change over the 15-year period to be reclassified in terms of vegetative screening or visibility between multi-cell campsites: 22 campsites had increased vegetation screening as compared to 3 campsites with decreased screening (Figure 3). The majority (61) of the campsites remained unchanged in vegetation screening. Overall, the positive changes were probably the result of management efforts to protect and enhance vegetation screening at camping areas with multiple campsites.

Conclusions and Discussion A comprehensive inventory of all campsites beginning in 1999 made it possible to detect the development 22

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Figure 5 – Visitors enjoying the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

of new campsites and to evaluate meaningful and comparable changes in the physical condition of existing sites over time. The impact parameters measured at campsites were guided by management objectives in the 1999 and 2012 Allagash Wilderness Waterway Management Plans. One overarching objective was the wilderness character concept as defined by the AWW Management Plan related to campsites: opportunities are provided along the watercourse for primitive, secluded, and remote travel and camping. The visitor survey in 2003 provided information to help assess use and experiences and to guide management strategies such as the vegetative screening at camping areas with multiple campsites (Figure 4). The visitor survey helped to inform the revised 2012 AWW plan and identify impact parameters to reassess, such as the amount of vegetation between campsite cells and amount of vegetation between campsites and water. We recommend that campsite condition assessments be supplemented with visitor surveys to help inform management decisions. Where there are documented improvements to campsite conditions, feedback JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

from visitors is needed to assess how management actions are influencing the visitor experience and finding suitable campsites. For example, will a higher percentage of AWW visitors now find more campsites suitable as compared to past visitor surveys that reported a relatively high percentage found them not suitable because of campsite conditions or not having enough vegetative screening at the site (Figure 5)? Monitoring the condition of recreation resources is a perennial challenge for wilderness and protected area managers, so efforts that may improve efficiency and accuracy are important considerations (Monz and D’Luhosch 2010). In addition to the technical aspects of determining indicators and accurate measurement protocols, managers often face significant limitations on the financial and personnel resources required to carry out field collection and subsequent data analysis (Leung and Monz 2006). Decisions were made in the second campsite condition assessment to improve efficiency of data measurements so that more time was permitted for needed measurements on erosion at water access points. On one hand, the efficiency measures taken (decrease the


number of directions measurements were taken) likely increased the measurement error and degree of accuracy; however, the change in protocol created an opportunity for collecting other data to assist future management decisions. Other campsite monitoring techniques have been utilized that may improve efficiency and accuracy such as digital image analysis (Monz and D’Luhosch 2010) and variable transect method (Marion 1991). Continued research on measurement techniques that may increase efficiencies and accuracy is critically important when choices need to be made on continued monitoring of certain campsite attributes and not others (Cole 1983; Cole et al. 1997). For example, the inventory in the first campsite condition assessment collected tree damage and root exposure that may have helped to explain changes in condition of campsites. Finding the optimal mix of campsite attributes to measure and acceptable degree of accuracy is a continued need for managers, and future research may help managers make more informed decisions related to monitoring programs of recreation resources. A major challenge to management of places with at-large or dispersed camping is avoiding the creation of entirely new campsites. Additional data on changes in the condition of campsites must be complemented with data on change in the number of campsites to fully assess trends in overall campsite impact (Cole et al. 2008). In some instances, where places have both designated camping and dispersed at-large camping, a management problem may occur with new campsites being added by visitors (Cole et al. 2008). The AWW management strategy involving

designated camping agrees with others such as Thornburgh (1986) and Marion and Farrell (2002) in that this strategy can be highly effective in minimizing campsite impact and especially avoiding impacts associated with new campsites.

Acknowledgments The authors thank the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, Bureau of Parks and Lands and the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station at the University of Maine for providing support for this research. We thank employees of the AWW and students Robert Kacir from Paul Smiths College and Brendan Shumway, Jennifer Speirs, and Benjamin Wallace from the University of Maine for their help and support during the data collection. Finally, we thank the helpful suggestions provided by Chad Dawson and other reviewers of this article.

References Allagash Wilderness Waterway. 1970. Appendix F: Federal Register Text Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Federal Register. 70-9231. Clark, R. N., and G. H. Stankey. 1979. The Recreation Opportunity Spectrum: A Framework for Planning, Management, and Research. General Technical Report PNW-98. Portland, OR: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. Cole, D. N. 1983. Monitoring the Conditions of Wilderness Campsites. USDA Forest Service Research Paper INT-303. Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. Cole, D. N., A. E. Watson, T. E. Hall, and D. R. Spildie. 1997. High-Use Destination Area in Wilderness: Social and Biophysical Impacts, Visitor Responses, and Management Options. USDA Forest Service Research Paper INT-483. Intermountain Research Station. Cole, D. N., P. Foti, and M. Brown. 2008. Twenty years of change on campsites in the backcountry of Grand Canyon National JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

Park. Environmental Management 41: 959–970. Cordell, H. K., C. J. Betz, J. M. Bowker, et al., eds. 1999. Outdoor Recreation in American Life: A National Assessment of Demand and Supply Trends. Champaign: IL: Sagamore Publishing. Daigle, J. 2005. Allagash Wilderness Waterway Visitor Survey 2003. Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station. Misc. Report 436. University of Maine. Daigle, J. J., J. C. Speirs, and B. M. Wallace. 2002. Monitoring the Condition of Campsites in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway – Summers 1999–2001. Technical Report submitted to the Maine Department of Conservation and Bureau of Parks and Lands, Augusta, ME. Harris, W., T. Morrison, M. LaRoche, and R. Turner. 2012. Allagash Wilderness Waterway Management Plan. December 2012. Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. Division of Parks and Public Lands. Augusta, ME. Leung, L. F., and C. A. Monz. 2006. Visitor impact monitoring: What, why, and how? George Wright Forum 23(2): 7–10. Maine Department of Conservation. 1999. Allagash Wilderness Waterway Plan. January. Division of Parks and Public Lands. Augusta, ME. Marion, J. L. 1991. Developing a Natural Resource Inventory and Monitoring Program for Visitor Impacts on Recreational Sites: A Procedural Manual. Natural Resources Report PS/NRVT/NRR-91/06S. Denver, CO: US Department of Interior National Park Service. National Resources Publication Office. Marion, J. L., and T. Farrell. 2002. Management practices that concentrate visitor activities: Camping impact management at Isle Royale National Park, USA. Journal of Environmental Management 66: 201–212. Monz, C. A., and P. D’Luhosch. 2010. Monitoring campsite conditions with digital image analysis. International Journal of Wilderness 16(1): 26–31. National Park Service, US Forest Service. 1982. Wild and Scenic Rivers Guidelines; National Wild and Scenic Rivers System; Final Revised Guidelines for Eligibility, Classification and Management of River Areas. Federal Register 47(173): 39, 454–39, 461. Opuszynski, W., R. Kacir, and B. Shumway. 2015. Allagash Wilderness Waterway User

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Impact Study – 2014. Technical Report submitted to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Forestry, Conservation, and Forestry and Division of Parks and Lands. Augusta, ME. Thornburgh, D. A. 1986. Responses of vegetation to different wilderness management systems. In Proceedings – National Wilderness Research Conference: Current Research, comp. R. C. Lucas (pp. 108–113). USDA Forest Service General Technical Report INT-212. Intermountain Research Station. US Public Law 90-542. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of October 2, 1968. 82 Stat. 906.

JOHN J. DAIGLE is the leader of the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism program and professor in forest recreation management at the University of Maine; email: jdaigle@maine.edu. WALTER OPUSZYNSKI is the trail director of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Waitsfield, Vermont; email: walter@ northernforestcanoetrail.org. MATT LAROCHE is the superintendent of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway; email: Matt.LaRoche@maine.gov.

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EDUCATION & COMMUNICATION

Landscape to Techscape Metamorphosis along the Pacific Crest Trail BY DANIEL DUSTIN, LARRY BECK, and JEFF ROSE If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology.… Once our natural splendor is destroyed, it can never be recaptured. And once [we] can no longer walk with beauty or wonder at nature, [our] spirit will wither and [our] sustenance be wasted. – Lyndon B. Johnson

T

his article is based in part on the first author’s experience hiking 750 miles (1,207 km) of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexican border near Campo, California, to Chicken Spring Lake in the High Sierra in the late spring and early summer of 2016. During his 44 days on the trail, he encountered hundreds of day, section, and thru-hikers of all ages, genders, ethnicities, races, and nationalities. The impression they left on him inspired these observations. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) spans 2,660 miles (4,281 km) from its southern terminus on the Mexican border to its northern terminus on the Canadian border. It runs the length of California, Oregon, and Washington, and traverses desert, mountain, and forest environments with intermittent touching of civilization via a handful of small communities along the way. Travel on the PCT has increased dramatically in recent years for many reasons, including Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (2013) and the popularity of the movie by the same name. For example, the total number of thru-hiking permits issued by the Pacific Crest Trail Association grew from 1,879 in 2013 to 4,453 in 2015 (Pacific Crest Trail Association 2016). The PCT passes through several political jurisdictions, including 6 national parks, 4 national monuments, 7 Bureau of Land Management field offices, 25 national forest units, and 5 state park units. According to the Pacific Crest Trail Association (2016), “a remarkable 54% of the PCT on federal land is federal wilderness.” The trail passes through 48 federal wilderness areas and has “more tread in wilderness

Daniel Dustin & Larry Beck

Jeff Rose

than any other trail” (Pacific Crest Trail Association 2016). Moreover, in addition to sections of the PCT that are located in federally designated wilderness areas, there is an expectation that much of the trail, with the exceptions of road crossings and resupply points, should maintain its wilderness character. Given the rapidly accelerating use of the PCT, how best to retain its wilderness character is an important question to ponder. Our purpose in writing this article is to discuss one aspect of the burgeoning popularity of the PCT, the prevalence of increasingly sophisticated technology carried by hikers in the form of smartphones and their applications. Our premise is that this growing electronic connectedness is changing the nature of hiking the PCT, and it is time to reflect on the desirability of this change in planning for the future of the PCT, as well as in planning for the future of other trails throughout the United States and around the world. To the extent that all trails offer unique opportunities for immersion in nature, we believe the increasing phenomenon of electronic connectedness is relevant to trails of all types.

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Our line of thought is anchored in Robert Moor’s (2016) On Trails: An Exploration, and his description of how trails can metamorphose from corridors connecting people to places into conduits for rapid communication in a way that transforms landscapes into techscapes. To the extent this phenomenon is happening along the PCT, we ask readers to consider the costs and benefits of such a transformation and whether anything can or should be done about it.

PCT Overview

Pacific Crest Trail hikers come in all shapes and sizes, ages, races, genders, ethnicities, and nationalities. They also hike the PCT for many reasons, as is the case with other “thru-hiking” experiences and “great

walks” such as the Appalachian Trail (Bryson 1998). For some, the PCT hike is a passage – from teenage years to adulthood, from college to work, from an old job to a new job, from work to retirement, or from one relationship to another (Muesser 1998). For them, hiking the PCT affords time for introspection and self-reflection – as many as five months of soul-searching in the middle of an otherwise ordinary existence. For others, a hike along the PCT is an opportunity for personal growth (Goldenberg and Soule 2014) and self-expression (Kyle, Graefe, Manning, and Bacon 2003), for proving oneself (Hill, Goldenberg, and Freidt 2009; Hill, Goldenberg, Gómez, Fellows, Freidt,

Figure 1 – Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Photo courtesy of Scott Schumann

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and Hill 2010), and for assuming a positive new identity reflected in adopted trail names such as “Hero,” “Commodore,” and “Gottawalk.” Such diversity makes generalizations difficult, but it is fair to say that PCT hikers share two primary characteristics: they are mainly in their 20s and 30s (Hill, Gomez, Goldenberg, Freidt, Fellows, & Hill 2014), and they come from urban settings throughout the United States and abroad. In other words, they are young city dwellers who live their everyday lives somewhat distanced from nature. Demographically, they also represent the future. Indeed, one of the most encouraging aspects of increasing numbers of young people hiking the PCT is that they


have an opportunity to connect with their fundamental ground of being. Getting back to nature, it would seem, is a really good thing for them to be doing. At the same time, these young urbanites are, in part, products of their social and cultural habitats, all of which have defined, constrained, and/or exacerbated tendencies toward a sense of technological dependency. We believe these connections to technology, which have spawned multiple benefits for individuals and society, may also interfere with their ability to connect with their biological moorings. According to a recent Pew Center study (Lenhart 2015), most children in the United States receive their first wireless device by the age of 12. Ninety-two percent (92%) of teens between the ages of 13 and 17 report being online every day, and 24 percent are online “almost constantly.” By the time they reach adulthood, today’s teenagers are a “wired” generation and their predilection for immediate connectivity permeates all aspects of their lives, including hiking the PCT. The vast majority of PCT hikers encountered by the first author in the spring and summer of 2016 carried smartphones equipped with Half Mile and Gut Hook apps. (Note: Half Mile and Gut Hook apps use Global Positioning Systems that do not require cell phone service. Essentially, for many PCT hikers, the apps replace the need for a map and compass.) Through countless observations and conversations, it became apparent that these apps made it possible for hikers to know exactly where they were on the trail (to the third decimal point), where the next reliable water source could be found, and where the next campsites were located. The apps also identified

other points of interest along the way, including gates, roads, and prominent landscape features, as well as relaying information about trail closures due to fire (there were three such fire-related closures in southern California in the early spring/ summer of 2016), habitat protection (there was one such closure in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles to protect the habitat of the mountain yellow-legged frog, an endangered species), and other obstacles awaiting them farther down the trail (there was yet another 10-mile (16 km) road detour in the San Gabriel Mountains to avoid an overgrowth of poodle-dog bush that causes severe allergic reactions similar to poison oak and poison ivy). The apps were also useful for redirecting hikers who wandered off the trail back onto the trail. Finally, wherever cell phone service was available along the PCT, hikers texted and emailed one another to keep abreast of any issues looming up ahead. Essentially, the precision of apps was replacing the imprecision of guidebooks that hikers relied on in the past. While it is easy to appreciate the value of smartphones for safety reasons and for the immediacy of answers to most any trail-related questions (e.g., identifying an unknown wildflower), there is something disconcerting about relying almost exclusively on sophisticated electronic technology to navigate the PCT. Such technology appears to be antithetical to what trail experiences were designed to be about (Cole 2001; Moore 2008). It seems that self-reliance is being replaced by technological reliance, which in turn is leading to psychological distancing from the hike itself. Why should this matter?

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Landscape to Techscape In On Trails: An Exploration, Moor (2016) examines the history of trails for humans and animals alike. He reasons that while trails come into being as a way to connect living creatures with places they wish to go, to get them from point A to point B, trails can evolve other kinds of uses. “Since the rise of electrical engineering in the nineteenth century,” Moor contends, “a second sense of the word [trail] has gained widespread use. When two things remain distant, to connect them means to create a conduit through which matter or information can flow” (Moor 2016, p. 252). “A trace, when followed, becomes a trail,” Moor continues. “Likewise a trail, when transformed by technology, becomes a road, a highway, a flight path; a copper cable, a radio wave, a digital network. With each innovation we’re able to get where we want to go faster and more directly – yet each new gain comes with a feeling of loss” (Moor 2016, p. 254). That feeling of loss characterized the first author’s 2016 hike along the PCT. Based on his conversations with, and observations of, other backpackers, it became apparent they were less focused than he was on the immediacy of things, the landscape itself, as their technology allowed them to distance themselves psychologically from the sublime, the transcendent, and perhaps even the metaphysical, as their smartphones took care of the majority of tasks at hand. Their smartphone technology made it easier for them to pass through wilderness without having to experience wilderness. Indeed, based on the first author’s conversations with many of the PCT thru-hikers, they didn’t seem to know much about, or even care much about, International Journal of Wilderness

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getting to know the environment they were walking through. Again, as Moor observes: From trains to automobiles to airplanes, each time the speed of connection quickens, travelers have expressed a sense of growing alienation from the land blurring past our windows. In the same vein, many people currently worry that digital technology is making us less connected to the people and things in our immediate environment. It is easy to dismiss these responses as overreactions, the curmudgeonly groans of the progress-averse. Yet in all these cases, a faster connection palpably diminishes our ability to experience the richness of the physical world. (2016, p. 255) While the first author was lost in the sights and sounds of the present moment, other hikers were less so. His fascination with trail conditions, hummingbirds darting here and there, and the occasional rattlesnake crossing his path was countered by their fascination with the latest music channeled from their smartphones to their earbuds. They also were preoccupied with what lay farther down the trail – water caches, trail magic (refreshments left by Good Samaritans), campsites, resupply stations, and other “oases” conducive to socializing – and they consulted their smartphones frequently for the latest updates on what was in store for them up ahead. Fostering warm relationships with others seemed especially important to the younger hikers (Goldenberg and Soule 2014; Goldenberg, Hill, and Freidt 2008), and they took every opportunity to linger at river crossings, hot springs, small towns, and trail angel rest stops (private homeowners 28

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welcoming thru-hikers to camp on their property) to savor “downtime” with like-minded others. For them, hiking the PCT was a social as much as a solitary experience. Indeed, they appeared to be experiencing the PCT as a network of “nodes and connectors” rather than as a continuum of landscapes. As Moor infers, “The importance of place and context – those two words whose meanings twine in the word environment – necessarily wanes as we transition to a world of nodes and connectors. The fact that trails

“An answer may rest in the fact that, unlike other backpacking equipment, smartphones do not bring hikers closer to nature. On the contrary, they make it easier for hikers to distance themselves from nature even as they are immersed in it.” enable just this kind of reduction in complexity has always been one of their chief appeals. But the faster we travel, the more intensely we feel our lack of relationship with the land we traverse” (Moor 2016, p. 255). The irony, of course, is that trails like the PCT were designed specifically to connect people to the land (National Park Service 2009). Meanwhile, technological innovations such as smartphones “pile up, one atop the other, each forming the foundation for the next, until an entirely new landscape, a techscape, emerges – like a city built on the ruins of past empires” (Moor 2016, p. 260).

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What Does the Future Hold? What, if anything, should we make of this? Is the lesson simply that life is characterized by change, and that we must adapt and adjust accordingly? Or is the lesson that wilderness’s meaning is socially constructed (Cronon 1995), and that a socially oriented and technologically grounded wilderness experience is as authentic today as any other kind of wilderness experience was in the past? Is there really an issue here, or is it the case that what the first author witnessed was merely a younger generation replacing an older generation? Is backpacking on the PCT simply a matter of style, or is there something else going on worth stewing over? And if so, what, if anything, should be done about it? Answers to these questions may well depend on where one is coming from philosophically. As Moor observes, “Wilderness [and wilderness trails] look different in the neon light of technology. In the traditional framework of wilderness preservation, a techscape is merely a despoiled wilderness landscape. But when viewed through the lens of technology, the wilderness can be seen as nothing more than an ultraminimalist techscape designed to provide an escape from other, more baroque techscapes” (p. 261). From this perspective, the appropriateness of advancing electronic technology on the PCT is really not an issue. After all, improvements in other kinds of backpacking equipment reflect advancing technology as well. From boots to tents to sleeping bags and pads to cooking utensils to stoves to food preparation, they all can be seen as manifestations of continual technological refinement. Gear is constantly being made lighter and


more efficient. Smartphones with solar-powered recharging panels have merely replaced maps and compasses as part of a backpacker’s standard equipment. Why should they be thought of any differently than other technological advances? An answer may rest in the fact that, unlike other backpacking equipment, smartphones do not bring hikers closer to nature. On the contrary, they make it easier for hikers to distance themselves from nature even as they are immersed in it. As Joseph Sax implored in Mountains Without Handrails (1980), anything that gets in the way of, or buffers us from, experiencing nature firsthand should be avoided; those aspects that complement nature without overshadowing it are to be supported, because they refine the focus on the surrounding landscape. From this perspective, smartphones are part of that “baroque techscape” from which trails are intended to be an escape. Indeed, smartphones on the PCT may well be contributing to the gradual metamorphosis of an “ultra-minimalist techscape” into the “baroque techscape” hikers believe they are walking away from.

Conclusion It would be easy to conclude that what is happening along the PCT simply reflects change; an old generation of hikers being replaced by a new generation of hikers, and an old generation of technology being replaced by a new generation of technology. Baby boomers are being replaced by millennials, and maps and compasses are being replaced by smartphones with solar-powered rechargers adorning backpackers’ backs. It is one thing to lament change. It is quite another to propose

something be done to prevent it. Yet that proposal is what we leave the reader. In a world that is now often urbanized, and in cultures increasingly detached from the land that sustains them, anything that brings us closer to the land, anything that brings us closer to the ground of our being, is desirable. Conversely, anything that detracts us from our connection to the land is undesirable. We believe smartphones are a detraction. We recognize that smartphones are only one aspect of the information network and age of connectivity we now live in. However, smartphones symbolize the immediate access of that information and 24/7 connectivity of the digital age. Turkle (2015), in Reclaiming Conversation, reported that “average American adults check their phones every six and a half minutes.” This information overload and constant connectivity is changing how we interact with one another and how we interact with nature. Because much of the PCT passes through designated wilderness, the Wilderness Act (1964) is instructive. In Section 2(a) of the act, reference is made to “increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization” as a reason for a system of wilderness. Furthermore, Section 2(c) addresses wilderness as having “outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation.” Finally, Section 4(b) states that “each agency administering any area designated as wilderness shall be responsible for preserving the wilderness character of the area.” Our smartphone technologies are part of the “growing mechanization” referred to in 2(a); they compromise JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

“opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation” referred to in 2(c); and they most certainly diminish the full presence necessary to appreciate the “wilderness character of the area” as mentioned in 4(b). We think smartphones are antithetical to a wilderness experience. They distance us from experiencing our relationship to, and dependence on, nature by diverting our senses from what is going on around us and fully appreciating the “solitude” and the “wilderness character” of the landscape we are walking through. Smartphones subtly transform our proximal nature into a distal nature. They allow us to think we know what we are doing when, in fact, they do the knowing for us, a sort of “growing mechanization” that many are now depending on. They tell us where we are, where our water will be, and where we should camp at day’s end. Smartphones make these decisions for us, and we happily allow them to do so without realizing we are sacrificing our agency and our responsibility for making our own way down the trail. The experience is no longer one of “primitive and unconfined recreation.” For these reasons, we believe smartphones should be discouraged along the Pacific Crest Trail and along other trails like it throughout the world. At the minimum, land managing agencies responsible for hiking experiences such as those found on the PCT should initiate a plan of outreach and education. In the PCT’s case, this will mean coordinating among many different federal and state agencies. It will require providing information on websites (such as that of the Pacific Crest Trail Association) that emphasizes the downside of depending on smartphones and how their use compromises a wilderness experience. International Journal of Wilderness

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Efforts should also be made to work with planners, bloggers, outdoor recreation information outlets, and others to frame the PCT experience as one reflecting values of solitude, primitive recreation, and self-reliance. In the end, hikers are independent thinkers and they will make their own decisions. But if the benefits of leaving technology behind are made clear, then hikers may be inclined to make better educated and more thoughtful decisions consistent with the intent of the Wilderness Act. The advantage of leaving technology behind is revealed in an undiminished encounter with nature and a kaleidoscope of wonders that can be experienced when we are finely tuned to the present moment and all that is going on around us. Toward the conclusion of The Hour of Land, Terry Tempest Williams (2016) reasons that it is “time to reimagine our public lands as sanctuaries, refuges, and sacred lands. Time to rethink what is acceptable and what is not” (p. 364). We wholeheartedly agree.

References Bryson, B. 1998. A Walk in the Woods. New York: Broadway Books. Cole, D. 2001. Day Users in Wilderness: How Different Are They? Research Paper RMRS-RP-31. Ogden, UT: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Cronon, W. 1995. Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. Goldenberg, M., and K. Soule. 2014. Outcomes of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education and Leadership 6(1): 44. Goldenberg, M., E. Hill, and B. Freidt. 2008. Why individuals hike the Appalachian Trail: A qualitative approach to benefits [Abstract]. Journal of Experiential Education 30(3): 277–281. Hill, E., M. Goldenberg, and B. Freidt. 2009. Benefits of hiking: A means-end approach

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on the Appalachian Trail. Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism & Recreation Research 2(1): 19-27. Hill, E., M. Goldenberg, E. Gómez, S. Fellows, B. Freidt, and L. Hill. 2010. Comparison of Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail hikers: Motivations and benefits. Abstracts from the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors Tenth Biennial Research Symposium 10, 52–54. Cortland, NY: Coalition for Education in the Outdoors. Hill, E., E. Gomez, M. Goldenberg, B. Freidt, S. Fellows, and L. Hill. 2014. Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trail hikers: A comparison of benefits and motivations. Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism & Recreation Research 5(1): 9–16. Kyle, G., A. Graefe, R. Manning, and J. Bacon. 2003. An examination of the relationship between leisure activity involvement and place attachment among hikers along the Appalachian Trail. Journal of Leisure Research 35(3): 249–273. Lenhart, A. 2015. Teen, social media and technology overview 2015. Pew Research Center. Moor, R. 2016. On Trails: An Exploration. New York: Simon & Schuster. Moore, R. 2008. A wilderness pathfinder: Benton MacKaye and the Appalachian Trail. In Service Living: Building Community through Public Parks and Recreation, ed. D. Wellman, D. Dustin, K. Henderson, and R. Moore (pp. 55–71). State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc. Muesser, R. 1998. Long-Distance Hiking: Lessons from the Appalachian Trail. Camden, MN: Ragged Mountain Press. National Park Service. 2009. The National Trails System Act (P.L. 90-543). Retrieved from http://www.nps.gov/nts/legislation.html. Pacific Crest Trail Association. 2016. Retrieved from http://www.pcta.org/our-work/ trail-and-land-management/pct-visitoruse-statistics/. Sax, J. 1980. Mountains Without Handrails. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Strayed, C. 2013. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Turkle, S. 2015. Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. New York: Penguin Press.

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US Public Law 88-577. The Wilderness Act of September 3, 1964. 78 Stat. 890. Williams, T. 2016. The Hour of Land. New York: Sarah Crichton Books.

DANIEL DUSTIN is a professor in the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Program at the University of Utah; email: daniel. dustin@health.utah.edu. LARRY BECK is a professor in the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University; email: lbeck@mail.sdsu.edu. JEFF ROSE is an assistant professor in the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Program at the University of Utah; email: jeff.rose@utah.edu.


INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES

Mapping the Inner Experience of Wilderness An Organizing Framework BY PETER ASHLEY

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ilderness can be a place for human transformation, with the wilderness experience increasingly recognized as being restorative and a positive contributor to psychological well-being (Talbot and Kaplan 1986; Kaplan and Kaplan 1989; Scherl 1989; Harper 1995; Mace et al. 2004; Garg et al. 2010; Hinds 2011; Ewert et al. 2011; DPIPWE 2014; European Wilderness Society 2014). Restorative benefits from the wilderness experience include tranquility and inner peace (Kaplan and Kaplan 1989; Cumes 1998); calmness, relaxation, refreshment, revitalization (White et al. 2013), and mental and physical renewal (Talbot and Kaplan 1986); changes in perception, enjoyment, fascination, and sensory awareness (Kaplan and Talbot 1983); a sense of wholeness (Kaplan and Kaplan 1989); self-discovery, confidence, and well-being (Hinds 2011); self-insight and expansion of the “self” (Kaplan and Talbot 1983; Greenway 1995); and personal and interpersonal (social) development (Hine et al. 2011). While past research confirming the restorative and psychological benefits attributable to wilderness experiences is persuasive, little work has been done on plotting the mechanisms responsible. A coherent and integrated approach is needed to advance the field. Identification of possible factors would increase our knowledge of the restorative value of wilderness and contributes to what Watson (2004) described as a new era of public land stewardship – stewarding the relationship between people and wilderness. Understanding those relationships and their influences allows managers to manage for their protection. In this article, a multidimensional conceptual framework is proposed – the wilderness experience pathway schema (WEPS) (Figure 1) – potentially causal to explaining the “psychological wilderness response.”

The Wilderness Experience Pathway Schema (WEPS) While models have been developed to explain the relationship between natural areas such as wilderness and health, restorative, transformational, and spiritual benefits (see for example, Ulrich 1983; Fox 1999; Heintzman Peter Ashley 2009a, 2011; Fredrickson and Anderson 1999; Ewert et al. 2011; Scannell and Gifford 2010), no one model fully encapsulates the complex nature of the human-environment relationship nor fully illustrates the linkages between the parts and the whole within a wilderness context. A more inclusive and integrated model is called for, such as that offered by the WEPS. The multidimensional framework proposed here structures possible causal mechanisms for the wilderness psychological response and consequent restorative and associated benefits via a five-phase sequence of events (Figure 1). However, some qualifying comments may be useful here before proceeding. Spiritual values and benefits, sometimes considered analogous to psychological values and benefits (e.g., Kaplan and Talbot 1983; Bennett 1994; Johnson 2002; Ewert et al. 2011; European Wilderness Society 2014), are not dismissed, but the focus of the WEPS is on psychologically restorative outcomes in the wilderness setting. Likewise, conceptual aspects of other fields of research such as leisure studies and outdoor and recreation experience may be present, but they are beyond the scope of this article. Consequently, there may be some cross-pollination between fields in the schema. This is almost impossible to avoid (as is the case in most models) when overlapping concepts and potential variables are squeezed into a diagrammatic representation of

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PAST

1. We enter the wilderness bringing with us our life experiences, beliefs, values, attitudes, behaviors, and predispositions. Some may call this “baggage.” AND...

PRESENT

2. Encounter the wilderness, including: • the physical (landforms, topography, extent, biophysical, ecological, vegetation) • the elemental (clean air, changes in weather) • change from usual living parameters, being away, challenges THIS AROUSES... 3. The senses, which are heightened – physical (visual aesthetic beauty and fascination, auditory - quietness, olfactory, tactile, gustatory). THESE ANTECEDENTS COMBINING TO … 4. Evoke, at the time, various physical, affective, emotional and cognitive responses – place attachment, compatibility, coherence, an opening (mental, transcendental). LEADING TO...

FUTURE

5. The creation at the time and also in the future, of benefits on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual planes of existence. Restoration. Growth. Attitude and behavioral changes.

Figure 1 – The wilderness experience pathway schema (WEPS). Possible feedback loops have been omitted to preserve clarity. (Source: Adapted from Ashley 2009.)

the human: environment relationship with all its complexities. Returning to the five phases (Figure 1), the first phase involves people’s entry into wilderness: What cognitions, expectations, and predispositions do we bring with us when we arrive? The second phase covers the encounter with the wilderness setting: How are the wilderness characteristics perceived? These two phases, collectively, give rise to the third phase, arousal of the senses: What is stimulated and what are the triggers? Acting in concert, the preceding three phases produce the fourth phase: What is evoked? The fifth and final phase represents the products of the wilderness experience: 32

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What outcomes and benefits may be expected and when? Entry Phase In the beginning, we come to wilderness. While we may leave behind our routines and the stresses associated with contemporary living (Brady 2006) and cultural overstimulation (Greenway 1996), we are far from inert. What we bring – our states and traits, fears and phobias, predispositions, values, value orientations, attitudes, and motivations for being there – may well influence how we perceive wilderness and what we expect or want from the trip. Thus the characteristics of our persona upon arrival “set the scene” JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

emotionally and cognitively, even behaviorally, and may determine the form, strength, and duration of any subsequent restorative outcomes by either encouraging or inhibiting them. What we bring to the wilderness (above) as psychometric variables can be overlooked in wilderness studies tending toward recreation and experiential preferences related to setting characteristics, but need to be taken into account in order to provide a more grounded explanatory framework for the psychological response. This is an important foundational differentiation of the WEPS approach. Encounter Phase We now transition into, or encounter, wilderness, this second phase covering the biophysical environment – the natural setting characteristics including the weather. General wilderness conditions thought likely to foster the psycho-spiritual response include conditions of sound and quiet deemed essential to maintain the solitude and primitive character of wilderness (Briggs et al. 2011) and naturalness (Dawson and Hendee 2009; Ryan et al. 2010). Specific natural setting characteristics or interactions with them believed to trigger psychospiritual experiences in wilderness include physical challenge, wildlife, water bodies, geology, vegetation, high places, open and expansive or closed-in and protected natural areas, and environmental quality and integrity or naturalness (Fredrickson and Anderson 1999; McDonald et al. 1989). A fundamental issue is the uncertainties and even fears relative to the weather (Kaplan and Talbot 1983) potentially playing a significant role in wilderness areas by being an ally or antagonist mediating one’s experience depending on circumstances (Ashley 2009). Although wilderness weather


has been recognized as a contributing factor to a spiritual experience, for example (Stringer and McAvoy 1992), this contribution is more likely to apply if the weather is kind, I think. But wild country does have an “aura of danger,” enough to approach it with “humble caution” Graber (1976, p. 12). Wilderness may not always be a carpet of flowers, it confronts us with “gray rainy days, animal-fouled water, perilous forests, and deathly dangers” requiring attention to all that surrounds us (Harper 1995, p. 187) – such confrontations and challenges being offered up spontaneously and sometimes in great number (Cumes 1998). Thus traveling in wilderness areas, particularly if backpacking on foot, carries a risk that one may be presented with significant mental and physical challenges (McDonald et al. 2009; Kaplan and Kaplan 1989), including “moments of serious emotional stress” (Harper 1995, p. 193). It is not to be forgotten that well-known Tasmanian wilderness photographer Peter Dombrovskis (see front cover photograph IJW, April 2006; Mittermeier 2005) died in the rugged Tasmanian southwest wilderness alone, as did his mentor Olegas Truchanas, in separate incidents. Senses Phase This third WEPS phase involves the role of the five senses in the wilderness experience. Kaplan and Talbot (1983, p. 177) for example, reported that participants in the Outdoor Challenge program became more aware of their surroundings after a few days, noticing clouds, birds, and animals and the “smells, sights and sounds” of the landscape. Greenway (1996, p. 26) has also confirmed that in wilderness, “ears, eyes, nose, and skin open in wonder, wider and wider, colors, smells, and shapes becoming more vivid”. Experienced through

sensation, the effect of the wilderness landscape is aptly described by Johnson (2002, p. 30): We enter wilderness with all our senses and all our being: feeling the rain or breeze; smelling its pine and sage; hearing the water, the crack of lightning; seeing the world anew with each shift of light or perspective; not least, we know in our elemental core how our journey has entwined us – our comfort and our fate – with this landscape. To experience the full restorative potential of wilderness, Cumes (1998, p. 93) has suggested that we need to become one with the wilderness encounter, to “feel, touch, smell, and taste as well as see and hear it,” this letting the wilderness in via enlivening the senses being a subtly powerful and underrated perceptual experience (Harper 1995). The multifaceted beauty of wilderness areas (Cumes 1998) offers opportunities for aesthetic pleasure (Fox 1999). Aesthetic natural settings are not only pleasing to the eye but also foster mental-fatigue recovery and effective human functioning (Kaplan and Kaplan 1989). The aesthetic response is triggered by landscapes with moderate to high complexity, structural properties displaying patterns and a focal point, moderate to high level of visual depth or openness, homogenous and mobility-attracting surfaces, water features, and those that appear to be unthreatening (Ulrich 1983). More specifically, the study of McDonald et al. (2009) found that the aesthetic quality of the wilderness landscape was the most important of seven themes in triggering peak experiences for participants, notably JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

sunlight, late afternoon sunsets, forests, mountains, wildlife, and valleys. These visual cues, along with watching clouds and the movement of leaves in the wind and other sensory stimuli such as sounds and smells (Cumes 1998), may account for restorative and transcendent experiences in natural settings (Williams and Harvey 2001). Evocation Phase This fourth phase accounts for the physical, affective, and cognitive reactions to the previous two trigger phases. After spending some time in wilderness, a feeling may arise, a sense that we are not strangers or outsiders but instead belong there, a feeling that we are “at home” (Harper 1995, p. 187), Greenway (1996, p. 27) confirming that such an articulation by his study participants was an indication they were transitioning or “crossing into wilderness psychologically as well as physically.” Our perception of time and space may also radically shift, people reporting a sense of timelessness as they become more attuned to natural rhythms, creating an opening for new experiences through “the natural dynamics of wilderness” (Greenway 1995, p. 130). In their study, Williams and Harvey (2001) found that a sense of timelessness was one of the characteristics of a transcendent experience in forests, for example. Dreams may also change. A Greenway (1995) finding was that after three or four days in wilderness, 82% of respondents reported that the content of their dreams changed from urban or busy scenarios at the beginning of the trip to those about wilderness or their group. With feelings of connection and oneness being recognized as part of a wilderness spiritual experience (Fox 1999; Stringer and McAvoy 1992), McDonald et al. (2009) also International Journal of Wilderness

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found that feelings of connection or belonging to wilderness, of being at one with wilderness, helped trigger peak experiences. But it can be about connection with other people too, through the sharing of leisure pursuits (Heintzman 2009b). Where there is a good fit between an individual and whatever (recreational) pursuits are being undertaken in wilderness – whether high-risk adventure such as climbing (Figure 2) or more sedate pursuits such as photography – and if one feels at ease doing them, this “state of mind” becomes an important aspect of reflection (Kaplan and Kaplan 1989, p. 200).

figure 2 – A happy soul – compatibility exemplified. the author’s son climbing in the Andes. Photo by James Ashley.

Benefits Phase The simple act of going into wilderness “can have profound healing consequences” (Cumes 1998, p. 34), wilderness being a physically and mentally different place away from the usual pressures and concerns of everyday existence (Schmidt and Little 2007; McDonald et al. 2009). This awayness can contribute to spiritual experiences in wilderness (Heintzman 2009b), and along with aesthetics (senses phase), was found by 34

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McDonald et al. (2009) to be the most influential of seven themes in triggering peak or transcendent experiences in wilderness. The Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service (1999, p. 25) confirms that the (Tasmanian) wilderness experience can be “therapeutic and character–building,” with the results of a Canadian wilderness river rafting study supporting the psychologically restorative potential of wilderness (Garg et al. 2010).

“While past research confirming the restorative and psychological benefits attributable to wilderness experiences is persuasive, little work has been done on plotting the mechanisms responsible.” Following analysis of the trip journals of participants in the Outdoor Challenge program, Kaplan and Talbot (1983, p. 192) found a progression of responses to wilderness or “temporal landmarks,” indicating that beneficial effects tend to accumulate over the duration of a wilderness trip of around seven days. Based on fascination, coherence, and compatibility as primary factors, participants felt invigorated and refreshed, more self-confident and tranquil, better able to contemplate their future goals and priorities, had experiences of awe and wonder leading to “thoughts about spiritual meanings and eternal processes” (Kaplan and Talbot 1983, p. 178), and took “a more proactive stance toward the environment at least personally” (p. 195). Similarly, where events in wilderness may be adjudged as spiritually inspirational and thus temporally immediate, subsequent JUNE 2017 • VolUmE 23, NUmbEr 1

benefits off-site could lead to “a more psychologically-balanced state of being and environmentally-sound way of being in the world” (Fredrickson and Anderson 1999, p. 23). Significantly, the testing nature of the wilderness landscape (encounter phase) can offer infinite rewards, as facing and overcoming the physical and mental challenges it often presents can stimulate or trigger positive and profound feelings contributing to spiritual experiences (Stringer and McAvoy 1992) and otherwise improving one’s psychological well-being (Kaplan 1995; Fredrickson and Anderson 1999; Williams and Harvey 2001; Ulrich et al. 1991; Schmidt and Little 2007; Kirchhoff and Vicenzotti 2014; Cumes 1998; Hine et al. 2011; McDonald et al. 2009).

framework testing The WEPS assumes that there may be some overlap in the five phases, but they may also be separate. Furthermore, progress “through” the phases may not necessarily be unidirectional, although the first phase (wilderness entry states and traits) is expected to have universal applicability and be the first order phase regardless. It is also possible that some people may not necessarily experience each of the four remaining phases, while others may experience them all and simultaneously (Ashley 2009), or in a different order, with pathways being less a reductionist linear progression and more cyclic in practice due to the complexity (Fredrickson and Anderson 1999; Heintzman 2009a) and multidimensionality of the wilderness experience. It is also acknowledged that different types of wildernesses, setting characteristics, activities, and such like may also influence experiences. Consequently, the WEPS as proposed will need to be validated.


Implications for Wilderness Management The WEPS has the potential to inform wilderness management processes. However, we cannot foster people’s immanent experiences of wilderness directly – that is in their hands – but we can foster the conditions conducive to those experiences, or at least thought likely to do so, by creating opportunities for experiences such as for solitude (Cole 2011). It might also be more about the choices that visitors make when in wilderness than management actions together with the knowledge and understanding managers have of the possibility of or potential for psychospiritual outcomes (Heintzman 2011). The WEPS may help increase such knowledge and understanding. Practically, managers need to know “what they are managing for” (Cole 2011, p. 69). By focusing on the encounter, sensory awareness, and evocations phases in this section, the WEPS could provide this direction, although it really gets down to what managers can control or not (Cole 2004). In the encounter phase, then, wilderness conditions thought likely to foster psycho-spiritual experiences include the relative absence of development (Heintzman 2011) and naturalness (Dawson and Hendee 2009; Ryan et al. 2010). This is achievable by reducing management infrastructure such as roads (Ashley 2009) and maintaining and restoring ecosystems, for example. Tracks could be routed to take advantage of particular landscape features such as wildlife, water bodies, geology, vegetation, and high places (Fredrickson and Anderson 1999; McDonald et al. 1989). And with Cole (2004) counting the social setting as a setting attribute, managers can control the extent, amount, and type of use –

although visitor behavior less so, this social aspect having the potential to influence the restorative potential of wilderness in one way or another. As to sensory aspects, conditions subject to management actions include sound and quiet deemed essential to maintain the solitude and primitive character of wilderness (Briggs et al. 2011). Contra-indicators include human-sourced noise and ambient stressors such as air pollution causing haze and visibility problems. Scenic vistas obscured by air pollution may have consequences that are “heavily psychological,” indicating annoyance, stress, and depression (Mace et al. 2004, p. 7). Experiences can also be compromised by noise from overflying aircraft, motorized snow vehicles and watercraft, and off-road vehicles in wilderness areas (Mace et al. 2004). Managers can protect viewsheds by controlling fire (as much as possible), and therefore smoke, and in terms of sound, by limiting the noise signatures of motorized conveyances, including overflying aircraft. Development of a soundscape management plan for some areas based on acoustical data would improve the visitor experience and general ecosystem health (Briggs et al. 2011). Finally, the evoke phase is less subject to direct management control. The creation of place attachment meanings (e.g., love of place, feeling at home, being in place), respect for nature and wilderness, and development of an environmental/wilderness ethic expected in the evoke phase, are largely in the hands of visitors. However, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that managers might influence these sorts of expressions, which, by the way, may well accord with their own values anyway. A helpful and caring attitude toward place, people, and JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

wildlife by managers; the manner in which their duties are undertaken; teamwork; and their passion, for example, may help shape visitors’ evocations should they be noticed by visitors at the time or subsequently.

Conclusion When we are in wilderness we embark on two journeys – the outer and the inner. While both are entwined, this article is essentially about the latter. The context is the demystification and clarification of the human response considered causal to restorative and other beneficial well-being outcomes. This article identifies the underlying precepts of the human psychological response to wilderness and organizes them into a multidimensional framework and schema. As such, it takes steps toward filling a gap in the environmental psychology and wilderness literature. Further research and framework testing in practical domains would be expected to provide additional support (or not) for the WEPS structure and nuance the elements within each phase and their role. As the pace of the world becomes progressively speedier and as rates of mental distress and dis-ease increase, wilderness offers a place of refuge from the vicissitudes of modern life. A powerful “catalyst for change” (Ashley 2012, p. 8), if you wanted to stop the world and get off, you would probably want to alight into wilderness.

References Ashley, P. 2009. The spiritual values of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and implications for wilderness management. Unpublished PhD thesis, School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart. ———. 2012. Confirming the spiritual value of wilderness. International Journal of Wilderness 18(1): 4–8. Bennett, D. 1994. The unique contribution of

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wilderness to values of nature. Natural Areas Journal 14(3): 203–208. Brady, E. 2006. Aesthetics in practice: Valuing the natural world. Environmental Values 15(3): 277–291. Briggs, J., J. Rinella, and L. Marin. 2011. Using acoustical data to manage for solitude in wilderness areas. Park Science 28(3): 81–83. Cole, D. N. 2004. Wilderness experiences: What should we be managing for? International Journal of Wilderness 10(3): 25-27. ———. 2011. Wilderness visitor experiences: A selective review of 50 years of research. Park Science 28(3): 66–70. Cumes, D. 1998. Inner Passages, Outer Journeys: Wilderness, Healing, and the Discovery of Self. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications. Dawson, C. P., and J. C. Hendee. 2009. Wilderness Management: Stewardship and Protection of Resources and Values, 4th ed. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing. DPIPWE (Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment). 2014. Draft Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan. Hobart, Tasmania: DPIPWE. European Wilderness Society. 2014. European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System: Working Draft, Version 1.4. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from http://wilderness-society.org/wp-content/ uploads/2014/02/EWQA_workingdefinition-Final.pdf. Ewert, A., J. Overholt, A. Voight, and C. C. Wang. 2011. Understanding the transformative aspects of the wilderness and protected lands experience upon human health. In Science and Stewardship to Protect and Sustain Wilderness Values: Ninth World Wilderness Congress Symposium, 2009, 6–13 November, Meridá, Yucatán, Mexico, comp. A. Watson, J. Murrieta-Saldivar, and B. McBride (pp. 140–146). Proceedings RMRS-P-64. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Fox, R. 1999. Enhancing spiritual experience in adventure programs. In Adventure Programming, ed. J. C. Miles and S. Priest (pp. 455–461). State College, PA: Venture Publishing. Fredrickson, L. M., and D. H. Anderson. 1999. A qualitative exploration of the wilderness experience as a source of spiritual inspiration. Journal of Environmental Psychology 19(1): 21–39.

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Garg, R., R. T. Couture, T. Ogryzlo, and R. Schinke. 2010. Perceived psychosocial benefits associated with perceived restorative potential of wilderness river-rafting trips. Psychological Reports, 107(1): 213–226. Graber, L. H. 1976. Wilderness as Sacred Space. Washington, DC: The Association of American Geographers. Greenway, R. 1995. The wilderness effect and ecopsychology. In Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind, ed. T. Roszak, M. E. Gomes, and A. D. Kanner (pp. 122–135). San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. ———. 1996. Wilderness experience and ecopsychology. International Journal of Wilderness 2(1): 26–30. Harper, S. 1995. The way of wilderness. In Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind, ed. T. Roszak, M. E. Gomes, and A. D. Kanner (pp. 183–200). San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. Heintzman, P. 2009a. Nature-based recreation and spirituality: A complex relationship. Leisure Sciences 32(1): 72–89. ———. 2009b. The spiritual benefits of leisure. Leisure/Loisir 33(1): 419–445. ———. 2011. Spiritual outcomes of wilderness experience: A synthesis of recent social science research. Park Science 28(3): 89–92, 102. Hinds, J. 2011. Exploring the psychological rewards of a wilderness experience: An interpretive phenomenological analysis. The Humanistic Psychologist 39(3): 189–205. Hine, R., C. Wood, J. Barton, and J. Pretty. 2011. The Mental Health and Wellbeing Effects of a Walking and Outdoor Activity Based Therapy Project. Essex, UK: University of Essex Department of Biological Sciences and Interdisciplinary Centre for Environment and Society. Johnson, B. 2002. On the spiritual benefits of wilderness. International Journal of Wilderness 8(3): 28–32. Kaplan, R., and S. Kaplan. 1989. The Experience of Nature: A Psychological Perspective. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Kaplan, S. 1995. The restorative benefits of nature: Toward an integrative framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology 15(3): 169–182. Kaplan, S., and J. F. Talbot. 1983. Psychological benefits of a wilderness experience. In Behavior and the Natural Environment, ed.

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I. Altman and J. F. Wohlwill (pp. 163–203). New York: Plenum. Kirchhoff, T., and V. Vicenzotti. 2014. A historical and systematic survey of European perceptions of wilderness. Environmental Values 23: 443–464. Mace, B. L., P. A. Bell, and R. J. Loomis. 2004. Visibility and natural quiet in national parks and wilderness areas: Psychological considerations. Environment and Behavior 36(1 ): 5–31. McDonald, B., R. Guldin, and G. R. Wetherhill. 1989. The spirit in the wilderness: The use and opportunity of wilderness experience for spiritual growth. In Wilderness Benchmark 1988: Proceedings of the National Wilderness Colloquium: January 13–14, 1988, Tampa, FL, comp. H. R. Freilich (pp. 193–207). Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-51. Asheville, NC: USDA Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. McDonald, M. G., S. Wearing, and J. Ponting. 2009. The nature of peak experience in wilderness. The Humanistic Psychologist 37(4): 370–385. Mittermeier, C. 2005. Conservation photography: Art, ethics, and action. International Journal of Wilderness 11(1): 8–13. Ryan, R. M., N. Weinstein, J. Bernstein, K. W. Brown, L. Mistretta, and M. Gagné. 2010. Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature. Journal of Environmental Psychology 30: 159–168. Scannell, L., and R. Gifford. 2010. Defining place attachment: A tripartite organizing framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology 30: 1–10. Scherl, L. M. 1989. Self in wilderness: Understanding the psychological benefits of individual-wilderness interaction through self-control. Leisure Sciences 11(2): 123–135. Schmidt, C., and D. E. Little. 2007. Qualitative insights into leisure as a spiritual experience. Journal of Leisure Research 39(2): 222–247. Stringer, L. A., and L. H. McAvoy. 1992. The need for something different: Spirituality and the wilderness adventure. The Journal of Experiential Education 15(1): 13–21. Talbot, J. F., and S. Kaplan. 1986. Perspectives on wilderness: Re-examining the value of extended wilderness experiences. Journal of Environmental Psychology 6(3): 177–188.


Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. 1999. Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan. Hobart: Parks and Wildlife Service. Ulrich, R. S. 1983. Aesthetic and affective response to natural environment. In Behavior and the Natural Environment, ed. I. Altman and J. F. Wohlwill (pp. 85–125). New York: Plenum. Ulrich, R. S., U. Dimberg, and B. L. Driver. 1991. Psychophysiological indicators of leisure benefits. In Benefits of Leisure, ed. B. L. Driver, P. J. Brown, and G. L. Peterson (pp. 73–89). State College, PA: Venture Publishing. Watson, A. E. 2004. Human relationships with wilderness: The fundamental definition of wilderness character. International Journal of Wilderness 10(3): 4–7. White, M. P., S. Pahl, K. Ashbullby, S. Herbert, and M. H. Depledge. 2013. Feelings of restoration from recent nature visits. Journal of Environmental Psychology 35: 40–51. Williams, K., and D. Harvey. 2001. Transcendent experience in forest environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology 21(3): 249–260.

PETER ASHLEY is a university associate, Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania; email: plashley@ utas.edu.au.

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INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES

Why Wilderness Should Be Remote BY MARTIN HAWES

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hat impact do developments such as tourist lodges and helipads have on wilderness values? What are the consequences of constructing a walkers’ hut (cabin) in a previously hut-free wilderness? These questions have immediate relevance in Australia’s island state of Tasmania, where the government is encouraging developments that could include the installation of huts, luxury lodges, and helicopter landing sites in remote parts of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (Tasmania 2016). Advocates of such developments have argued that the impacts would be confined to small areas (Darby 2015). The same argument could be used to justify developments such as roads, cable cars, or oil drilling in or adjacent to wilderness areas (see, e.g., Western Energy Alliance 2016). The flaw in this argument is that human structures and activities have impacts beyond their immediate vicinity, impacts that can be detrimental to the recreational, aesthetic, and other intangible values of wilderness. To protect these values, we need to recognize remoteness as a defining characteristic of wilderness, and ensure that wilderness reserves protect remote country.

The Significance of Remoteness Remoteness is an essential ingredient of what has been called the “wilderness experience” (Fredrickson and Anderson 1999). The further one stands from roads, buildings, and other trappings of modern civilization, the greater one’s opportunity for experiencing solitude and a sense of “immersion” in the natural world (Dawson 2004; Landres 2013). The phrase “modern civilization” acknowledges that many areas now regarded as wilderness have been (and in many cases, still are) occupied, utilized, and modified by indigenous people following traditional wilderness-based ways of life. 38

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Natural landscapes that include remote areas are conducive to the appreciation of boundlessness, immensity, and that special quality of silence that one senses in wild places. Visiting remote places, especially those remote enough to require at least one overnight stay, requires undertaking Martin Hawes journeys that demand self-reliance, heightening the sense of “passage” to a more primal state (Borrie and Roggenbuck 2001). Remote places frequently provide the settings for profound and life-changing experiences (Ewert et al. 2011), for personal growth (Roggenbuck and Driver 2000), for artistic inspiration (Ashley et al. 2015), and for awakening “a sense of relationship and interconnectedness with the community of life” (Landres et al. 2015). The presence of infrastructure and other evidence of modern society impacts the qualities of wilderness in a variety of ways, often over considerable distances. A hut offers shelter, but at the price of self-reliance. A helipad signals that the peace of one’s environs is intermittently shattered. An airstrip or mining scar can mar the viewfield of distant peaks. The knowledge that a summit has been accessorized with a radio tower alters one’s perception of the landscape that contains it, whether one is standing in that landscape or contemplating it from afar. Remoteness can protect cultural values such as those associated with indigenous relics (DPIPWE 2016). It can also have ecological benefits, providing a defense against disturbances such as air pollution, species invasion, fire, and poaching (Mackey et al. 1998; Casson et al. 2016; Lemieux 2016). Reserves designed to keep places remote tend to be large, have convex boundaries, and have low boundary-toarea ratios: characteristics that enhance their suitability for protecting ecological values on a landscape scale (Mackey et

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al. 1998; Margules and Pressey 2000; European Commission 2013).

Remoteness as a Defining Characteristic of Wilderness Wilderness has often been defined as remote or in terms that imply remoteness. For example, Leopold (1921) defined wilderness as a continuous stretch of natural country large enough to accommodate a two-week pack trip. Robertson et al. (1992) proposed that wilderness should be “remote at its core from points of mechanised access and other evidence of colonial and modern technological society.” The requirement in the US Wilderness Act that a wilderness area provide “outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation” (US Public Law 88-577) can be interpreted as implying that it should include remote country (Landres et al. 2015). But remoteness is not an explicit requirement of the US Wilderness Act, and it is not clearly implied by the definitions of wilderness adopted by the IUCN and the European Commission (EC). Each of these definitions characterizes wilderness areas as large, natural, and free of permanent settlements. The EC definition adds that wilderness should be “without intrusive or extractive human activity … infrastructure or visual disturbance” (European Commission 2013). The requirement that an area be large does not guarantee that any part of it will be remote, or that its qualities of remoteness will be adequately protected. For example, a riverine reserve could exceed the US Wilderness Act minimum threshold of 5,000 acres (2,023 hectares) many times over, yet be no more than a kilometer wide at any point. If 2 hectares (4.9 acres) in the remotest part of a designated wilderness area were rezoned to

accommodate a tourist lodge, it is not clear from the IUCN definition that any values would be lost apart from the 2-hectare deficit.

“The requirement that an area be large does not guarantee that any part of it will be remote, or that its qualities of remoteness will be adequately protected.” Guidelines for applying the IUCN, EC, and US Wilderness Act definitions include statements that can be interpreted as requiring remoteness (Casson et al. 2016; European Commission 2013; Landres et al. 2015). However, none of these guidelines explicitly requires wilderness to be remote; hence none of them definitively excludes enclaves or boundary indentations that would compromise remoteness.

Defining and Quantifying Wilderness Character One can avoid this difficulty by defining wilderness character as the degree to which a location is undisturbed by and remote from the influences of modern technological society (Lesslie 2016). One can then define wilderness as land or sea that has a high degree of wilderness character. Carver and Fritz (2016) noted that two basic factors, remoteness and naturalness, are used in one form or another in nearly all models of wilderness character. Thus, the wilderness character of a location can be regarded as a measure of its “wildness” on a scale from “intensively developed” to “remote and pristine.” Lesslie and Maslen (1995) modeled wilderness character (which they termed “wilderness quality”) JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

as the sum of four variables, three of which were based on weighted distances from human-made features such as roads and logging areas. The fourth was a measure of (local) biophysical naturalness. Variants of this methodology have been used to assess wilderness character across Australia (Lesslie 2016) and Europe (Kuiters et al. 2013), and within a number of European countries including the United Kingdom (Carver et al. 2002), Austria (Plutzar et al. 2016), Italy (Orsi et al. 2013), and Iceland (Ólafsdóttir et al. 2016). Hawes et al. (2015) employed a modified version of the Lesslie and Maslen methodology to assess wilderness character across the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, taking into account travel times from points of mechanized access. The methodology could be refined to include assessments of the impacts of viewfield disturbances (Tricker et al. 2012; Sang 2016) and aircraft overflights (Weaver 2011; Collins 2015), taking distance factors into account. The US interagency strategy called “Keeping It Wild” modeled wilderness character as a composite of five “qualities,” inferred from the wording of the US Wilderness Act (Landres et al. 2015). One of these qualities, “Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation,” can be measured in terms of remoteness. However, none of the indicators that Landres et al. suggested for measuring this quality (e.g., “Miles of User-Created Trails” and “Night Sky Visibility”) requires measurements of remoteness.

Remoteness Case Study: Tasmania’s South Coast To illustrate how a development such as hut construction can impact wilderness character, and how such impact can be International Journal of Wilderness

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Figure 1 – New River Lagoon on Tasmania’s South Coast. The South Coast Track follows the beach. Photo by Grant Dixon.

quantified, consider two hypothetical developments within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Both developments would involve the construction of visitor accommodation near New River Lagoon on Tasmania’s South Coast Track, an 84-kilometer (52 mile) walking track (trail) that is currently hut-free except at its western trailhead (see Figure 1 and Map 1). The first development would comprise a complex of continuously staffed walkers’ huts, similar to those recently constructed on the Three Capes Track in Tasmania’s southeast (see Figure 2). The huts would be serviced by helicopter, but would be accessible to the general public only by foot. The second, alternative, development would involve the construction of a tourist lodge in the same location, with clients accessing the lodge by helicopter. Either development would be permitted under current management (DPIPWE 2016). The distribution of wilderness character across this section of the South Coast and its hinterland was calculated pre- and post-development for each scenario using the (modified) Lesslie and Maslen methodology referred to previously. Map 2 shows the current distribution. Note that the wilderness character of much of the region is in the highest category (18–20 on a scale of 0–20). Lower values occur 40

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Figure 2 – Recently constructed walkers’ hut (cabin) complex on Tasmania’s Three Capes Track. Note the helipad at lower left. Photo by Rob Blakers.

near walking tracks and in the vicinity of roads to the east. The direct biophysical impact of either development would be too small to register at the grid resolution used for this analysis (500 m/547 yards). Map 3 shows the wilderness character following construction of a staffed hut complex. This development would affect two of the four components of wilderness character, namely Apparent Naturalness, which is a measure of remoteness from artifacts such as roads, dams, and buildings; and Remoteness from Settlement. The development would rank as a “settlement” because it would be continuously occupied for much of the year. As Map 3 shows, the development would have a substantial impact on wilderness character, even if its direct biophysical impacts were confined to its immediate footprint. The losses of wilderness character reflect the fact that, for example, the previously remote coastline east of the Ironbound Range would fall within a day’s walk of the development. Helicopters servicing the development would be audible and visible, particularly in its vicinity. The development would be visible from the air, and probably from some ground-level vantage points. The presence of the huts would degrade the undeveloped quality of the region, JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

and would reduce the recreational challenge of the six- to eight-day South Coast walk. Map 4 shows the impact of the “tourist lodge” development. This would affect an additional component of wilderness character, namely Time Remoteness, as the helipad associated with the lodge would be a point of access for its clients. Places that currently take days to reach would be accessible within hours of stepping off a city street. Wilderness character would drop to frontcountry levels up to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the lodge, and would decrease by at least two units across more than 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of country. Note that the impact would be asymmetric, as Time Remoteness is a measure of travel times and is therefore dependent on local factors such as vegetation density and the location of walking tracks.

Protecting Wilderness Protecting wilderness requires maintaining the natural and undeveloped condition of wilderness and of the country that keeps it remote. Like wilderness itself, “remoting country” must be kept free of major infrastructure such as roads, dams, and tourist lodges, although its outer boundaries may border such features. Low-key huts and walking tracks may


be present in remoting country and on the fringes of wilderness, but not in its remotest areas. Where wilderness meets or is close to coastlines, reserves should ideally extend offshore to ensure that wilderness values are not compromised by offshore developments. The primary management objective of wilderness reserves should be maintaining the wilderness character of wilderness, whilst allowing indigenous people to maintain their traditional wilderness-based ways of life and customs (Casson et al. 2016). Secondary objectives may include restoring wilderness character (for example by closing and rehabilitating vehicular tracks), and maintaining the wilderness character of less remote areas. As an aid to achieving these objectives, both when designing reserves and when assessing the impacts of possible developments, the distribution of wilderness character across managed areas should be quantitatively assessed under different scenarios of development and boundary alignment.

Summary Definitions of wilderness that disregard or downplay the significance of remoteness leave wilderness vulnerable to developments that can substantially compromise its values. These values are best protected by defining wilderness character in terms of naturalness and remoteness, and by making the preservation of wilderness character the primary objective of wilderness reserves.

Acknowledgments Thanks to Grant Dixon, Geoff Law, and Nick Sawyer for their comments and suggestions on this article.

References Ashley, P., R. Kaye, and T. Tin. 2015. Direct and mediated experiences of wilderness spirituality: Implications for wilderness managers and advocates. In Science and Stewardship to Protect and Sustain Wilderness Values: Tenth World Wilderness Congress Symposium, 2013, 4–10 October, Salamanca, Spain, comp. A. Watson, S. Carver, Z. Krenovà, and

B. McBride (pp. 109–115). Proceedings RMRS-P-74. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rock Mountain Research Station. Borrie, W. T., and J. W. Roggenbuck. 2001. The dynamic, emergent, and multi-phasic nature of on-site wilderness experiences. Journal of Leisure Research 33(2): 202–228. Carver, S., A. Evans, and S. Fritz. 2002. Wilderness attribute mapping in the United Kingdom. International Journal of Wilderness 8(1): 24–29. Carver, S. J., and S. Fritz, eds. 2016. Mapping Wilderness: Concepts, Techniques and Applications. Netherlands: Springer. Casson, S. A., V. G. Martin, A. Watson, A. Stringer, and C. F. Kormos, eds. 2016. Gland, Switzerland: Wilderness Protected Areas: Management Guidelines for IUCN Category 1b Protected Areas. Collins, A. 2015. Wilderness character monitoring: Wildlife refuges in Oregon and Nevada. International Journal of Wilderness 21(3): 15–17. Darby, A. 2015. Huge Tasmanian wilderness area now open to development. Sydney Morning Herald, Jan. 15. Dawson, C. P. 2004. Monitoring outstanding opportunities for solitude. International Journal of Wilderness 10(3): 12–14, 29. DPIPWE, 2016. Tasmanian Wilderness World

Map 1 – Section of Tasmania’s South Coast and hinterland. Dashed/dotted lines show major/minor walking tracks (trails).

Map 2 – Current distribution of wilderness character across the region shown in Map 1.

Map 3 – Projected distribution of wilderness character following hypothetical construction of a walkers’ hut complex (indicated by red square).

Map 4 – Projected distribution of wilderness character following hypothetical construction of a lodge with helicopter access for clients.

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Heritage Area Management Plan. Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. Hobart. European Commission. 2013. Guidelines on Wilderness in Natura 2000. Technical Report-2013-069. Ewert, A., J. Overholt, A. Voight, and C. C. Wang. 2011. Understanding the transformative aspects of the wilderness and protected lands experience upon human health. In Science and Stewardship to Protect and Sustain Wilderness Values: Ninth World Wilderness Congress Symposium, November 6–13, 2009, Meridá, Yucatán, Mexico, comp. A. Watson, J. MurrietaSaldivar, B. McBride (pp. 140–146). Proceedings RMRS-P-64. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Frederickson, L. M., and D. H. Anderson. 1999. A qualitative exploration of the wilderness experience as a source of spiritual inspiration. Journal of Environmental Psychology 19: 21–39. Hawes, M., R. Ling, and G. Dixon. 2015. Assessing wilderness values. International Journal of Wilderness 21(3): 35–41, 48. Kuiters, A. T., M. van Eupen, S. Carver, M. Fisher, Z. Kun, and V. Vancura. 2013. Wilderness Register and Indicator for Europe, Final Report (EEA Contract No: 07.0307/2011/610387/SER/B.3). Edinburgh. Landres, N. 2013. Commonality in wilderness character. International Journal of Wilderness 19(3): 14–17, 48. Landres, P., C. Barns, S. Boutcher, T. Devine, P. Dratch, A. Lindholm, L. Merigliano, N. Roeper, and E. Simpson. 2015. Keeping It Wild 2: An updated interagency strategy to monitor trends in wilderness character across the National Wilderness Preservation System. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-340. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Lemieux, A. M. 2016. Policing poaching and protecting pachyderms: Lessons learned from Africa’s elephants. In Rural Policing and Policing the Rural: A Constable Countryside, ed. R. I. Mawby and R. Yarwood. Abingdon, U.K: Routledge. Leopold, A. 1921. The wilderness and its place in forest recreation policy. Journal of Forestry 19(7): 718–721. Lesslie R. G. 2016. The wilderness continuum concept and its application in Australia:

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Lessons for modern conservation. In Mapping Wilderness: Concepts, Techniques and Application, ed. S. J. Carver and S. Fritz (pp. 17–22). Netherlands: Springer. Lesslie, R. G., and M. Maslen, 1995. National Wilderness Inventory: Handbook of Principles, Procedures and Usage, 2nd ed. Canberra: Australian Heritage Commission. Mackey, B., R. Lesslie, D. Lindenmayer, H. Nix, and R. Incoll. 1998. The Role of Wilderness in Nature Conservation (Report to Environment Australia), Centre for Research and Environmental Studies, Australian National University, Canberra. Margules, C. R., and R. L. Pressey. 2000. Systematic conservation planning. Nature 405: 243–253. Ólafsdóttir, R., A. D. Sæþórsdóttir, and M. Runnström. 2016. Purism scale approach for wilderness mapping in Iceland. In Mapping Wilderness: Concepts, Techniques and Application, ed. S. J. Carver and S. Fritz (pp. 157–176).Netherlands: Springer. Orsi, F., D. Geneletti, and A. Borsdorf. 2013. Mapping wildness for protected area management: A methodological approach and application to the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site (Italy). Landscape and Urban Planning 120: 1–15. Plutzar, C., K. Enzenhofer, F. Hoser, M. Zika, and B. Kohler. 2016. Is there something wild in Austria? In Mapping Wilderness: Concepts, Techniques and Application, ed. S. J. Carver and S. Fritz (pp. 177–189). Netherlands: Springer. Robertson, M., K. Vang, and A. J. Brown. 1992. Wilderness in Australia: Issues and Options. Canberra: Australian Heritage Commission. Roggenbuck, J. W., and B. L. Driver. 2000. Benefits of nonfacilitated uses of wilderness. In Wilderness Science in a Time of Change Conference – Volume 3: Wilderness as a Place for Scientific Inquiry, 1999 May 23–27, Missoula, MT, comp. S. F. McCool, D. N. Cole, W. T. Borrie, and J. O’Loughlin (pp. 33–49). Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-3. Ogden, UT: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Sang, N. 2016. Wild vistas: Progress in computational approaches to “viewshed” analysis. In Mapping Wilderness: Concepts, Techniques and Application, ed. S. J. Carver and S. Fritz (pp. 69–87).

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Netherlands: Springer. Tasmania. 2016. Tourism investment opportunities in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, National Parks and Reserves. Retrieved from http://www. stategrowth.tas.gov.au/?a=106818. Tricker, J., P. Landres, S. Dingman, C. Callagan, J. Stark, L. Bonstead, K. Fuhrman, and S. Carver. 2012. Mapping Wilderness Character in Death Valley National Park. Natural Resource Report NPS/DEVA/NRR – 2012/503. Fort Collins, CO: National Park Service. US Public Law 88-577. The Wilderness Act of September 3, 1964. 78 Stat. 890. Weaver, P. L. 2011. El Toro Wilderness, Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. In Science and Stewardship to Protect and Sustain Wilderness Values: Ninth World Wilderness Congress Symposium, November 6–13, 2009, Meridá, Yucatán, Mexico, comp. A. Watson, J. MurrietaSaldivar, and B. McBride (pp. 95–108). Proceedings RMRS-P-64. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Western Energy Alliance. 2016. Small and temporary – Assessing the impact of 100 years of oil and natural gas development in western Colorado. Retrieved from https://www.westernenergyalliance. org/sites/default/files/Colorado%20 Wilderness%20Report%20final.pdf.

MARTIN HAWES is a wilderness and walking track (trail) management consultant who has been exploring wilderness, mostly in Tasmania, for more than 45 years; email: martin@twelveprinciples.net.


INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES

Half-Bhutan

The Evolution and Effectiveness of Protected Areas in a Country Recognizing Nature Needs Half BY SONAM WANGCHUK, DECHEN LHAM, NIGEL DUDLEY, and SUE STOLTON

W

hen E. O. Wilson called for half the world to be left in a natural state (Wilson 2016), there was widespread disbelief that such a thing was possible. But while theoreticians argue about the details, one country has quietly exceeded the Sonam Wangchuk target: Bhutan has set aside 51.44% of its total land area as permanent protected areas. This article discusses Bhutan’s conservation strategy, describes a recent assessment of the effectiveness of the country’s protected area system, and looks at what lessons the rest of the world can and cannot draw from the actions of this tiny Himalayan country. Bhutan is a small, landlocked Buddhist country, lying between India and China, in the Eastern Himalayas (Department of Forest and Park Services 2016). The country is blessed with a range of ecosystems, ranging from lowland tropical forests to some of the highest mountain ecosystems in the world. Around three-quarters of the country is forested (Gilani et al. 2014), and the government is committed to maintain forest cover of at least 60%. This is further enshrined in the Constitution of Bhutan, and the country also pledged to remain carbon neutral in perpetuity at the Paris Climate Declaration. There is a rich biodiversity with more than 200 mammal species, including 27 globally threatened species; more than 760 birds, including 60% of the world population of the critically endangered whitebellied heron (Ardea insignis) (Ministry of Agriculture and Forests 2014); and a huge array of flowering plants, including many endemic species. Baseline survey of species is still ongoing, and new species are recorded as new areas within

Dechen Lham

Nigel Dudley

Sue Stolton

the country are explored. Important species include the red panda (Ailurus fulgens fulgens), blue sheep (Pseudois nayaur), Tibetan wolf (Canis lupus chanco), takin (Budorcas taxicolor whitei), Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), gaur (Bos gaurus), Asiatic golden cat (Catopuma temminckii), Himalayan serow (Capricornis sumatraensis), musk deer (Moschus chrysogaster), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), and snow leopard (P. uncia) (Ministry of Agriculture and Forests 2014). The National Tiger Survey of 2014–2015 recorded 103 tigers in Bhutan (DoFPS 2015), and 96 snow leopards were recorded from the nationwide snow leopard camera trap survey of 2015–2016 (DoFPS 2016). Bhutan is the first among the 12 snow leopard range countries to have completed a nationwide snow leopard survey. The protected area system consists of five national parks, four wildlife sanctuaries, one strict nature reserve, and one botanical park as well as eight biological corridors connecting all the protected areas (Figure 1). Conservation efforts are centered throughout these protected areas, and further, Bhutan emphasizes transboundary conservation.

Encouraging Protected Areas Bhutan has a number of unique features that help lay the groundwork for conservation success. The human population

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Figure 1 – Map of Bhutan’s protected areas

is less than 800,000 and only 8% of the area is suitable for agriculture, meaning that the large majority of people (an estimated 87%) are dependent on natural resources, including non-timber forest products (Ministry of Agriculture and Forests 2016). More than half the population live inside or near protected areas: the small number of people means that there are still large “empty” areas within parks; however, there has never been an attitude that assumes setting up a protected area means expelling the inhabitants. There is also low visitor pressure, although this is slowly growing. Visitor numbers are controlled through the national policy (Bhutan 2020) of low-volume, high-value tourism. Most tourists focus on cultural or religious sites, and large parts of the protected areas system are effectively left alone with the exception of the famous Snow Man Trek, which is attempted by many and considered to be the most arduous trekking route in the country. Protected area managers work closely with park residents through a decentralization process that was introduced by the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1974, which is 44

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Figure 2 – Jigme Dorji National Park

one key reason behind the conservation success of Bhutan. Agriculture is the dominant livelihood practice, and most people depending on agriculture live in rural areas within or near protected areas (Figure 2). Of critical importance here is a government decision in 2004 to legalize collection of Cordyceps fungi, which is highly valuable as a medicine and under national park legislation is confined to park residents collecting under a highly controlled system. In this manner, the protected area system ensures sustainable management of a valuable non-timber forest product (NTFP) and keeps the monetary rewards within local communities. Until recently, poaching pressure had also remained low, allowing the survival of iconic species such as the tiger and snow leopard, which have suffered heavy losses in similar habitats elsewhere in the region. Bhutan is also a deeply religious society, and Buddhist philosophy helps to shape attitudes toward other species and sets the philosophical foundations for conservation (Higgins-Zogib et al. 2011). Several of the highest peaks are off limits for climbers due to their sacred values, so the concept of setting JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

aside areas for their intrinsic values thus pre-dates modern protected area practice and is deeply rooted within society. Regard for the sanctity of life also means that human-wildlife conflict, particularly crop-raiding by wild boar, although recognized as a serious problem is not particularly blamed on conservation.

How Effective Are Bhutan’s Protected Areas? There have been several attempts to assess the effectiveness of Bhutan’s protected area system, starting with application of the Rapid Assessment and Prioritization of Protected Area Management methodology in 2003 (Tshering 2003). In 2015 and 2016, the Department of Forest and Park Services carried out an assessment of all 11 protected areas, using a modified form of the WWF Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool developed during workshops in Punakha and Lamperi. Lamperi meeting participants representing all the country’s protected areas collectively developed, refined, and agreed upon the best methodology in the Bhutan context – the Bhutan METT Plus 2016 (Dudley et al. 2016)


Figure 3 – Local People, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park

– and then carried out the assessment. Results were verified in many of the protected areas through sites visits and interviews with local community representatives. The overall results show that protected areas in Bhutan are well managed. However, effectiveness is currently limited by a low level of resources (both financial and technical) and by gaps in the monitoring and research data, which limits the ability to undertake adaptive management in response to changing pressures (DoFPS 2016). The network of protected areas is extensive and representative (Figure 1), and there is generally a good understanding about conservation. All protected areas are legally designated and have management objectives. Threats are understood and stakeholder relationships well developed. Most protected areas have management plans, although two parks that have only recently been put into operation are still at the planning stages. Biological corridors have been designated, but implementation is not really taking place due to temporary constraints. Plans and budgets tend to focus on the most urgent needs, such as the current rollout of the

Figure 4 – Royal Manas National Park Umling range office

SMART anti-poaching information system and human wildlife conflict management. Although budgets are believed to be stable, the level of resources is insufficient for effective management given the size of the network and the challenges of working in such difficult physical conditions. Most regular activities (e.g., patrolling, Cordyceps management, budgeting, and community engagement) are implemented, but it is not clear that managers and staff will be able to cope with the likely increased demands on management in the future. While it is believed that management is producing good conservation results, outcome data are limited. Survey work for tiger and snow leopard suggest protection is effective, but most species are not systematically monitored (Ministry of Agriculture and Forests 2016). In short, management is generally good, although often underresourced. A planned major funding initiative, Bhutan for Life, is expected to address the partial funding gap. This is important as pressures are likely to increase in the future, particularly from anthropogenic pressures and climate change. To some extent the protected area service is performing well because there have not been any serious threats,

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but this may well change.

What Does Bhutan Tell Us about Attainment of the Nature Needs Half Proposals? Skeptics tend to dismiss Bhutan as a special case: a largely uninhabited, uninhabitable, and underpopulated country with a unique set of social and cultural conditions that allow the government to designate a huge protected area system. And there is justification for caution. It is hard to imagine either of Bhutan’s massive neighbors (India and China) finding space to set aside half their countries, for instance. But neither is it enough to write Bhutan off as irrelevant to wider discussions about protected areas. Five critical factors can be identified that contribute significantly to success indicators and are all transferable to any other country. First, and perhaps most important, Bhutanese protected areas are established in collaboration with rather than in opposition to local communities, who continue to live in the area and who continue – in a sustainable manner – to make use of the area’s natural resources (Figure 3). Opposition to protected areas is often rooted in the very reasonable concern that protection will mean loss of

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access to traditional uses. In some cases this may be necessary – for example, if population levels of a particular species have reached critical levels or if an ecosystem is being rapidly degraded and careful negotiations and compensation are both required. But in many other cases managed access is a win-win, as species get conserved rather than driven to extinction, and communities get access to a long-term resource. Second, there is a clear understanding of the values of protected areas and their ecosystem services, both at a national level (Kubiszewski et al. 2012) and at the level of individual communities living in and around protected areas. Where people do not understand the wider values of natural ecosystems, protected areas tend to be perceived as a straight choice between wildlife and people, and whether we like it or not, many people do not choose wildlife. Once there is recognition that a wider set of values exist, the pool of supporters grows to include a wider proportion of the population. Next, there is strong political support from the government. Bhutan is not only unique in the amount of territory it has placed into protected areas but also that all the protected areas are government protected areas. Most other countries have a mixture of community, private, and state governance. Unequivocal government support for conservation is not drawn just from ethical reasons, although these undoubtedly exist, but also for pragmatic reasons relating to a range of ecosystem services, including particularly NTFPs, water, and carbon storage. The founding architecture of Bhutan’s intact environment has been exemplified through a network of protected areas and biological corridors by the great and visionary Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and is further envisioned and strengthened 46

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through the glorious reign of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. A fourth important consideration is that protected area staff are predominantly young and enthusiastic. Managers all have tertiary educational qualifications – many have studied abroad and have brought back wider international perspectives – and there is high motivation (Figure 4). Protected areas are only as good as the people who manage them, and good relations built up over years can be lost if someone makes a bad decision or adopts policies that alienate local people. Last, successful management means being able to prove that conservation works. Support from communities, donors, and governments will dissipate if conservation is failing. Bhutan is making progress although much more can be achieved.. The recent tiger and snow leopard surveys are important in showing the strength of the protected areas system, and in encouraging major donor initiatives such as Bhutan for Life. Cordyceps monitoring is recognized to be important, but monitoring of many more species and habitats is needed in the future. In short, Bhutan has already achieved a level of protection that most countries argue is impossible. While a set of particular conditions makes this easier to achieve than in many other cases, it is not enough to simply dismiss the Bhutan case as an anomaly. Good community negotiations, an inclusive approach, understanding of ecosystem service values, a supportive government, well-trained and well-motivated staff, and a good understanding of success and failure have all helped Bhutan achieve this important target. These preconditions could be available in many, if not most, other countries.

References

Department of Forest and Park Services. 2015.

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Nationwide Tiger Survey 2014–2015. Thimphu, Bhutan: Wildlife Conservation Division, Department of Forest and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. ———. 2016. National Snow Leopard Camera Trap Survey for Population Estimation 2014–2016. October. Thimpu, Bhutan: Wildlife Conservation Division, Department of Forest and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. Dudley, N., D. Lham, S. Stolton, S. Wangchuk, and S. Wangchuk. 2016. Bhutan Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool Plus. Final Version 2016. Thimphu, Bhutan and Bristol, UK: Wildlife Conservation Division and Equilibrium Research. Gilani, H., H. L. Shrestha, M. S. R. Murthy, P. Phuntso, S. Pradhan, B. Bajracharya, and B. Shrestha. 2014. Decadal land cover change dynamics in Bhutan. Journal of Environmental Management 148: 91–100. Higgins-Zogib, L., N. Dudley, and T. Aziz, eds. 2011. The High Ground: Biocultural Diversity and Conservation of Sacred Natural Sites in the Eastern Himalayas. Gland, Switzerland: WWF International. Kubiszewski, I., R. Costanza, L. Dorji, P. Thoennes, and K. Tshering. 2012. An initial estimate of the value of ecosystem services in Bhutan. Ecosystem Services 3: e11–e21. Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. 2014. National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan of Bhutan 2014. National Biodiversity Centre, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Royal Government of Bhutan. ———. 2016. Bhutan State of Parks 2016. Department of Forest and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Royal Government of Bhutan. Tshering, K. 2003. Bhutan Case Study – Evaluation of Management Effectiveness in Four Protected Areas. Gland, Switzerland: WWF. Wilson, E. O. 2016. Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life. New York: Liveright.

SONAM WANGCHUK and DECHEN LHAM work for the Nature Conservation Division of the Department of Forest and Parks Services in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests of Bhutan. NIGEL DUDLEY and SUE STOLTON work for Equilibrium Research; email: sue@ equilibriumresearch.com.


WILDERNESS DIGEST

Announcements Compiled by Greg Kroll

John Craighead Dead at 100 Famed grizzly bear biologist John Craighead died in his sleep at his Missoula, Montana, home September 18, 2016. He had recently celebrated his 100th birthday. His twin brother, Frank, died in 2001. The breadth of John Craighead’s experience and expertise in the natural world – with Frank and apart from him – is legendary. In 1998, the same year John received the Aldo Leopold Award, the twins were named among America’s top scientists of the 20th century by the National Audubon Society. The Craighead brothers were born in Washington, D.C., on August 14, 1916. Intrigued by falconry and birds, they attended Penn State University and, at age 20, published their first of many articles for the National Geographic Society entitled “Adventures with Birds of Prey.” Both Craigheads received doctorate degrees from the University of Michigan in 1949. John moved into the academic world in the early 1950s when he accepted a position with the University of Montana, leading the Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit for 25 years. John and Frank Craighead wrote much of the text of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that was passed by Congress in 1968, even while they conducted a 12-year study of grizzly bears in Yellowstone. That study is credited with helping save the bears from extinction. In 2005, the University of Montana endowed the John J. Craighead Chair in Wildlife Biology. No formal memorial services were held. The family spread John’s ashes in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, area, where the Craighead brothers settled when they first came west as young naturalists. (Source: Missoulian, September 19, 2016)

Judge Upholds Olympic NP’s Maintenance Work on Historic Structures in Wilderness A federal judge has agreed with the National Park Service’s decision to repair five historic buildings located in designated wilderness in Olympic National Park, Washington, holding that the agency “made a reasoned finding of necessity by

determining both that the structures are necessary to preserve historic values in Olympic National Park and that it was necessary to repair each one.” The summary judgment rejected claims by Wilderness Watch that the National Park Service (NPS) had acted arbitrarily and capriciously in repairing the structures in violation of the Wilderness Act. In addition, the judgment agreed with the NPS that historic structures are not incompatible with a wilderness setting. Olympic National Park encompasses an expansive and rugged landscape on the northwestern peninsula of Washington State. Within its boundaries there are 876,669 acres (355,000 ha) of designated wilderness, and within that wilderness there are 44 historic structures. “Many represent the activities of the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service, and others embody the perseverance of homesteaders and settlers and recreational development in the Peninsula,” US District Judge Ronald B. Leighton noted in his 26-page ruling. Five of those structures were central to the lawsuit brought by Wilderness Watch: Botten Cabin (also known as Wilder Patrol Cabin), Canyon Creek Shelter (also known as Sol Duc Falls Shelter), Wilder Shelter, Bear Camp Shelter, and Elk Lake Shelter. Since 2011, the NPS has performed maintenance on those structures; in some cases, new roofs were constructed, decaying logs were replaced in others, and in one instance, a rusted chimney flue was replaced. “The court’s ruling has far-reaching implications,” Chris Moore, executive director of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, noted in a prepared statement. “It enables the National Park Service and other federal agencies that manage America’s wilderness to meet their stewardship mission related to historic and cultural resources in a manner that complies with the Wilderness Act. Washingtonians understand that the historic structures in our backcountry areas complement the wilderness experience.” In his summary judgment, Judge Leighton noted that the NPS argued that, “Although historic preservation is subject to the Wilderness Act, it is indeed a purpose of the

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Act. It argues that because the Act charges it with preserving Olympic National Park’s wilderness character, which includes a devotion to its ‘historical use,’ and with complying with cultural resource preservation statutes, it can maintain historic structures in wilderness, so long as the means used are ‘necessary to meet the minimum requirements for administration of the Olympic Wilderness for the purpose of the Wilderness Act.’” He went on to note that the NPS “has a longstanding approach of preserving historic structures, subject to wilderness concerns. Even before Congress designated the Olympic Wilderness, the Park Service exercised its discretion under the Organic Act in removing structures that compromised the park’s wilderness character and preserving others.” (Source: National Parks Traveler, December 18, 2016)

Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Suffers Mounting Environmental Impacts A drastic increase in overnight use of Colorado’s Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness near Aspen has led the US Forest Service to propose a management plan to mitigate what officials say are mounting environmental impacts. The Forest Service said the plan is in response to public calls for action regarding the ongoing resource degradation and land management challenges. Overnight visits to the area’s top 10 trails have increased 115 percent since 2007. The management plan, if implemented, would establish use thresholds for camping zones. If a sustainable use level is exceeded, a mandatory overnight permit system and other mandates – including a fee system – could be implemented, the Forest Service says. Kate Jerman, 48

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a spokeswoman for the White River National Forest, said the plan represents a framework under which land management decisions will be made going forward. “We have been monitoring and collecting visitor use data in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness for many years,” Kay Hopkins, recreation planner for the White River Forest, said in a statement. “Every year visitation is record-setting and every year we are seeing more resource damage and in general a lack of ethical behavior from visitors.” Impacts to the wilderness area have included wildlife habituation to trash and campsites, tree cutting, fire scars, trash, human waste, and campsite hardening and proliferation. Officials issued a Forest Order requiring the use of approved bear-resistant containers for storage of all food, garbage, and attractants in the entire wilderness area. “Outreach and education efforts about appropriate wilderness conduct have been extensive and exhaustive, dating as far back as 20 years,” the Forest Service said in a news release. “Trailhead data demonstrates that the majority of visitors to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness are either from the Front Range of Colorado or outside of the state of Colorado, and despite widespread education efforts, degradation is still occurring.” (Source: The Denver Post, November 3, 2016)

Backcountry Cell Phone Coverage Expands in Yellowstone Commercial cell towers located inside Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho) now send signals to much of its wild backcountry, according to maps and records obtained by Public JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). This extensive cellular footprint contradicts official assurances that signal spillover outside developed areas would be kept to a minimum and coverage would not reach the vast majority of Yellowstone, according to PEER. In 2009, Yellowstone issued a wireless and telecommunications management plan that stated that cell phone coverage “would not be promoted or available along park roads outside developed areas, or promoted or available in any of the backcountry.” Yellowstone technology chief Bret De Young acknowledges the occurrence of “spillover” cell phone signals into backcountry areas, but suggested the coverage maps exaggerate the quality of coverage in parts of the park. At the summit of Mount Washburn, with its panoramic views, Yellowstone has transformed the historic fire lookout into a telecommunications hub, equipped with 36 antennae. When PEER filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the coverage map for AT&T’s latest installation there, park officials denied PEER’s request on grounds that the map was a “trade secret.” But agency lawyers overruled Yellowstone and ordered the map released. It shows that a substantial portion of the park receives signals from just this one location. Yellowstone officials have issued permits for four other cell towers circling the heart of the park. When the coverage of all five towers is combined, there remains little of Yellowstone not connected, according to PEER. Additional coverage inside the park comes from towers just outside its boundaries, including those at West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana (near its west and north entrances, respectively), and on


the Rockefeller Parkway in Wyoming (near its south entrance). Meanwhile, the administration of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, is pushing to permit construction of a new Verizon cell tower adjacent to the state’s largest tract of designated wilderness, according to PEER. Verizon wants to erect a 190-foot (58 m) “guyed telecommunications tower” supporting cellular 4G panels in the north unit of the park, which is 80% wilderness. The park has proposed no measures to minimize signal spillover into the wilderness lands. (Sources: www.peer.org, September 29 and October 27, 2016; Casper Star Tribune, September 29, 2016)

World’s Largest Marine Reserve Created off Antarctica A remote and largely pristine stretch of ocean off Antarctica has finally received international protection, becoming the world’s largest marine reserve. A broad coalition of countries came together to protect the 598,000 square miles (155 million ha) of water. The new marine protected area in the Ross Sea resulted from a unanimous decision by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, composed of 24 countries, including the United States and the European Union. South of New Zealand and deep in the Southern (or Antarctic) Ocean, the 1.9-million-square-mile (492 million ha) Ross Sea is largely untouched by humans. Its nutrient-rich waters are the most productive in the Antarctic, leading to huge plankton and krill blooms that support vast numbers of fish, seals, penguins, and whales. Some 16,000 species are thought to call the Ross Sea home, many of them uniquely adapted to the cold environment. A 2011 study published in the journal Biological Conservation

called the Ross Sea “the least altered marine ecosystem on Earth,” citing intact communities of emperor and Adelie penguins, crabeater and leopard seals, and killer and minke whales. The sea’s remoteness has meant it has largely escaped the heavy fishing and shipping pressures that have impacted much of the world’s oceans, although rising prices for seafood and the low cost of fuel have caused some fishermen to eye the waters as potential new grounds for exploitation. Some fishing already occurs there for Antarctic toothfish, a predatory fish that is sold as the highly prized Chilean sea bass. But beginning on December 1, 2017, fishing will no longer be allowed in 432,000 square miles (112 million ha) of the new reserve. “The Ross Sea is probably the largest ocean wilderness left on our planet,” says Enric Sala, a marine biologist. “It is the Serengeti of Antarctica, a wild place full of wildlife … where humans are only visitors and large animals rule.” It is a place of “fish with antifreeze in their blood, penguins that survive the equivalent of a human heart attack on each dive, and seals that must use their teeth to constantly rake open breathing holes in the ice,” scientist Cassandra Brooks wrote during an expedition there in 2013. The marine protected area was created based on a proposal from the United States and New Zealand. Environmental groups and several countries had pushed for protections for the Ross Sea for decades. Over the past few years, however, two holdout nations emerged: China and Russia, which expressed concerns about putting too much ocean off-limits to fishing or other uses, including the possibility of seabed mining. But 500 prominent scientists signed a letter urging protections for the JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

Ross Sea. China changed tack in 2015, and Russia came on board in 2016. (Source: National Geographic, October 27, 2016)

Court Rules That the US Forest Service Illegally Authorized Helicopter Intrusions in Wilderness A federal judge has ruled that the US Forest Service (USFS) illegally authorized the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) to conduct approximately 120 helicopter landings in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to place radio collars on wild elk in an operation during which IDFG also unlawfully collared four wolves. As a result, the court ruled, the USFS and IDFG are prohibited from using any data obtained from the illegally installed elk and wolf collars in future project proposals, IDFG must destroy the data received from the illegal collars, and the USFS must delay implementation of any future helicopter projects in the wilderness for 90 days to allow time for legal challenges. The Wilderness Act generally prohibits the use of motorized vehicles, including the landing of helicopters, in wilderness areas and requires the preservation of natural conditions. The ruling by US District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill concludes that the USFS violated the Wilderness Act and conducted insufficient environmental review by allowing IDFG to land helicopters in the wilderness in January 2016. In addition, the capture and radio-collaring of the four wolves was not permitted by the USFS. IDFG planned to undertake widespread wolf-killing by gathering location information on the collared wolves. The IDFG’s existing elk and predator management plans call for exterminating 60 percent of the wolf International Journal of Wilderness

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population in the heart of the River of No Return Wilderness to provide more elk for hunters and commercial outfitters. The judge found that these circumstances present “the rare or extreme case” where an injunction requiring destruction of the illegally obtained radio-collar data is required, stating: “The IDFG has collected data in violation of federal law and intends to use that data to seek approvals in the future for more helicopter landings in the Wilderness Area. … The only remedy that will directly address the ongoing harm is an order requiring destruction of the data.” At 2.4 million acres (970,000 ha), the River of No Return is the largest contiguous unit of the National Wilderness Preservation System in the Lower 48 states. It hosts abundant wildlife including elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, wolves, cougars, and wolverines. It is one of the few wilderness areas of sufficient size to allow natural wildlife interactions to play out without human interference, and for this reason was one of the original wolf reintroduction sites in the Northern Rockies. (Source: Earthjustice, January 19, 2017)

Global Witness Report: Honduras: The Deadliest Place to Defend the Planet Global Witness, a London-based NGO, has published a report examining the involvement of government officials and foreign aid in violent conflicts over mining, hydroelectric, tourism, and palm oil projects in Honduras. The result of a two-year investigation, the report includes several case studies and a series of recommendations for the Honduran and US governments. “We do an annual report to document the situation globally, and Honduras 50

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per capita has come out on top for the last few years. More than 120 land and environmental defenders have been killed in Honduras since 2010, so we wanted to investigate the reasons behind that,” Global Witness campaigner Ben Leather said. The issue was thrust into the global spotlight in March 2016 when Berta Cáceres, a well-known Honduran indigenous rights activist and Goldman environmental prize winner, was gunned down in her home. She had been receiving threats related to her work with communities opposing the construction of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam in western Honduras, and suspects arrested in connection with her killing include individuals with ties to the Honduran military and to DESA, the company behind the dam project. The new Global Witness report, Honduras: The Deadliest Place to Defend the Planet, examines the Agua Zarca case and other hydroelectric dam projects, a hotel and golf tourism complex in indigenous Garifuna territory along the northern coast, and mining and logging activities. Regardless of where the projects are located in the small Central American country of 8 million people, similar patterns of indigenous and human rights violations emerge. “What we’ve uncovered is that there’s an awful lot of corruption around these mega-projects, these big investment projects, whether that’s mining, whether that’s hydroelectric, whether it’s logging, or whether it’s luxury hotel projects,” Leather said. “These projects are being imposed on communities, which is why they need to mobilize in the first place. And then that same corruption means activists can be killed with impunity,” he said. In some cases, allegations of corruption go to the highest echelons JUNE 2017 • Volume 23, Number 1

of the Honduran government. Hydroelectric dam project backers also include international finance institutions such as the Central American Bank of Economic Integration, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Although the Global Witness report focuses on Honduras, similar forces are at play throughout Latin America. Already this year, indigenous and community activists opposing hydroelectric dams, mining, and logging reportedly have been killed in Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico. Isidro Baldenegro was a past recipient of the Goldman environmental prize. An indigenous Tarahumara community leader and farmer, he was awarded the honor for his organizing work to protect Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains from illegal logging. After years of threats, he was recently shot and killed. “He was threatened by people associated with the loggers, who were logging in his community. He was threatened by organized crime. But he was also imprisoned by the Mexican state, on charges that ultimately turned out to be false,” Leather said. (Source: mongabay.com, February 1, 2017)

Scotland’s John Muir Trust Releases a Short Film Celebrating Wilderness The John Muir Trust (johnmuirtrust. org) has released a five-minute film based on the writings of native son John Muir. Filmed in the Scottish Highlands, it combines narration with stunning scenery: https://vimeo.com/190453307.


WILDERNESS DIGEST

Book Reviews JoHN SHUlTIS, booK rEVIEW EDITor

Wilderness By Phillip Vannini and April Vannini. 2016. Routledge. 252 pp. $50.95 (pb) In this work, two wilderness scholars take us on a journey to visit multiple facets of wilderness, looking for integrated ways to understand wilderness that can transcend the dualistic and conflict-ridden perspective of pristine nature as the counterpoint of culture and society. On the journey we are invited to think about how the concept of wilderness has been understood at different times (Chapter 2), to see the different ways that wilderness is represented in popular media (Chapter 3), to understand how wilderness is experienced by people undertaking different activities in wilderness (Chapter 4), is utilized as tourism or mineral resources (Chapter 6), and of particular interest to IJW readers, as a place where management practices occur (Chapter 5). In Chapter 7, the authors present innovative possibilities of a “more-thanhuman” approach to understanding wilderness that can make “space for all objects and humans with their differing capacities and ways of life.” The authors propose that understanding wilderness as an “assemblage” would highlight the relations that bind humans, nonhumans, and their contexts, objectives, and practices together; understanding wilderness as “meshwork” would encourage us to derive the meaningfulness of wilderness from the moving, doing, and becoming of its inhabitants and not from preconstituted concepts. The authors’ task to make “space for all objects and humans” is hampered by their focus on literature centering on the negative aspects of wilderness. The tone of the book is set by Table 1 on p. 13 that lists the negative connotations of wilderness: ethnocentric, genocidal, androcentric, racist, unscientific, and unphilosophical. It is accompanied by a review of the criticisms raised against wilderness (Chapters 1 and 2), while the many responses to these criticisms are missing from both the text and the bibliography. Chapter 5 contains a section on “conservation refugees,” criticizing wilderness management

practices that stem from the belief of the separation between nature and culture and “the ideal of human absence.” No mention is made of wilderness management as a demonstration of human restraint – a concept prominent in the development of the US Wilderness Act, in nonintervention management and in Holmes Rolston III’s writings. Among the few positive aspects of wilderness cited include the benefits of wilderness recreation practices (Chapter 4) and Michael Nelson’s 30 arguments for the preservation of wilderness, which were first published in 1998 (Chapter 1). As a book “designed for courses and modules on the subject at both postgraduate and undergraduate levels,” its choice of material runs the risk of presenting wilderness to the younger generation as a problem to be solved or, worse, a mistake to be put right rather than a common heritage to be experienced, protected, and treasured. While ideally, nature and culture coexist harmoniously as one, in reality, most cultures today continue to dominate over nature. It is illusory to believe that the nature-culture divide will disappear, if only we would stop setting aside natural areas from human interference. REVIEWED BY TINA TIN, independent environmental consultant interested in Antarctic and wilderness issues; email: tinatintk@ gmail.com.

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Satellites in the High Country: Searching for the Wild in the Age of Man By Jason Mark. 2015. Island Press. 320 pp. $28.00 (hc). Wilderness has always been under myriad threats from a variety of groups and individuals. However, one could argue that at this moment in history, in our neoliberal, post-truth age, where natural resources such as wilderness are seen almost exclusively as fodder for economic growth and “alternative facts” pose as truth, the wilderness concept is facing its greatest challenge, especially in an increasingly fractured America. The main argument used to face these challenges is the need for an engaged, knowledgeable populace who will defend the noneconomic values of wilderness. The question then becomes, how then can we mobilize the public to fight for wilderness? Jason Mark’s Satellites in the High Country can be seen as one type of attempt to convince the often skeptical public about the value of wilderness, even in the so-called Anthropocene Era, when the amount of human impact on the wilderness is such that some argue that true wilderness no longer exists on the Earth. Mark attempts to answer the oft-asked question, does wilderness matter in

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contemporary society, especially given the issues noted above? And what attributes of wilderness make it worth fighting for? Perhaps the best attribute in this book, the latest in a long line of works designed to answer these critical questions, is the writing style and approach of the author. As a journalist, Mark approaches the subject by not only raising the familiar historical touchstones of the wilderness movement (e.g., John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, Aldo Leopold, etc.) but also newer issues in the wilderness (or anti-wilderness) movement (e.g., the Great Acceleration, the “new” conservation movement based on the Anthropocene); moreover, rather than merely using these concepts as academic terms, Mark manages to personalize the debates by talking about his experiences in wilderness and his meetings with pro- and anti-wilderness groups and individuals across the United States. For example, a serious foot injury while in the wilderness is used to set up the book, and visits to places including Yosemite, the Gila Wilderness, Alaska, the Black Hills, and the Point Reyes National Seashore with a variety of people are used to raise and respond to the arguments for and against the protection of wilderness in the United States. The topics come alive in this journalistic approach.

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In the end, Mark does not identify any new values of wilderness, but argues passionately that wilderness is not yet an obsolete concept in our troubled times, as it provides us with a sense of unpredictability, freedom, and escape. He suggests we will need to “rein in our appetites and restrain our baser instincts” (p. 230) to ensure wilderness can still serve as a refuge for nonhuman nature, and act as an anchor and moral compass for humanity. But is our political and economic system set up for restraint? REVIEWED BY JOHN SHULTIS, book review editor of the IJW, at the University of Northern British Columbia; email: john. shultis@unbc.ca.


Facilitated by

717 Poplar Avenue boulder, Co 80304 USA WWW . WILD . ORG

For Wilderness Worldwide WWW . IJW . ORG

Sponsoring Organizations

central michigan university, department of recreation, Parks and leisure services administration aldo leopold Wilderness research institute sunY college of environmental science and Forestry Wild ÂŽ Foundation university of montana, college of Forestry and conservation and Wilderness institute Wilderness Foundation (south africa) Wilderness Foundation (uK) Wilderness leadership school (south africa) Wilderness specialist Group (WcPa/iucn)

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