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RMRS-RP-31: Day users in wilderness: how different are they?

Cole, David N. 2001. Day users in wilderness: how different are they? Res. Pap. RMRS-RP-31. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 29 p.

This study describes the trip and visitor characteristics, evaluations, and preferences of day users in wilderness, by contrasting them with overnight users. Data from the Three Sisters (OR), Desolation (CA), Bob Marshall (MT), Charles Deam (IN), Caney Creek (AR), Shining Rock (NC), and Cohutta (GA) Wildernesses are presented. Primary conclusions were that: (1) day users and overnight users are not profoundly different; (2) day users are more tolerant of relatively crowded conditions and less likely to see an immediate need to limit use (at least in places that receive substantial day use); (3) day users are typically as experienced in wilderness travel, and as attached to wilderness and supportive of wilderness protection as overnight users; (4) day users may be as interested in a wilderness experience as overnight users, although there is some evidence to the contrary; and (5) day use of wilderness might be considered less wilderness dependent than overnight use. Implications related to meeting the needs and desires of day users and the management of wilderness trails and destinations that receive heavy day use are discussed.

Keywords: day use, management preferences, recreation management, visitor characteristics, visitor surveys, wilderness management

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Title: RMRS-RP-31: Day users in wilderness: how different are they?
Electronic Publish Date: December 22, 2005
Last Update:
January 14, 2010

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