Rocky Mountain Research Station Publications

RMRS Online Publication - Journal Articles, External Publications, and Special Reports
Structural constraints to wilderness: Impacts on visitation and experience

Schneider, Ingrid E.; Schroeder, Sierra L.; Schwaller, Ann. 2011. Structural constraints to wilderness: Impacts on visitation and experience. International Journal of Wilderness. 17(1): 14-21.

A significant research body on recreation constraints exists, but wilderness constraints research is limited. Like other recreationists, wilderness visitors likely experience a number of constraints, factors that limit leisure preference formation or participation and enjoyment. This project explored how visitors' experiences with and in wilderness are constrained, and examined responses to those constraints. A hermeneutic approach (Patterson and Williams 2002) provided the stories of wilderness visitors' experiences and constraints to experiences with and in wilderness. A purposive sample identified respondents for in-depth face-to-face interviews with a semistructured interview guide. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and analysis considered visitors' individual stories and stories across individuals. Member checking and dual readers provided discussion opportunities about and validation of the interpretations. Similar to other types of recreation, a variety of constraints to wilderness visitation emerged, although structural constraints dominated the conversations. Of particular interest to wilderness managers are the visitors' coping responses to constraints: shortened trips with fewer miles traveled influence both social and biophysical management areas. Future research opportunities include monitoring longer-term impacts on experiences, visitor use patterns, and subsequent biophysical impacts.

Keywords: wilderness, structural constraints, visitation, experience

About PDFs: For best results, do not open the PDF in your Web browser. Right-click on the PDF link to download the PDF file directly to your computer. Click here for more PDF help.

Download Article

PDF File Size: 110 K

Title: RMRS Other Publications: Structural constraints to wilderness: Impacts on visitation and experience
Electronic Publish Date: October 5, 2011
Last Update:
October 5, 2011

RMRS Publications | Order a publication | Contact Us