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Management Strategies for Common Wilderness Recreation Problems

Search either by problem or strategy/tactic or using the full matrix that shows all relationships between problems and primary strategies/tactics.


This online search tool is based on research results published in the following publication: Cole, David N.; Petersen, Margaret E.; Lucas, Robert C. 1987. Managing wilderness recreation use: common problems and potential solutions. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-GTR-230. Ogden, UT: USDA For. Serv., Intermountain Research Station.


This above report, and consequently this online search tool, summarize information on alternative management tactics available for dealing with common wilderness recreation problems. The hope is that this online search tool will serve as a "troubleshooting" guide. When faced with a specific problem, managers can use the tool to access a list of primary tactics and case studies, where available, for dealing with each problem. The pros and cons of each of these can be reviewed in a PDF document that provides detailed discussions of tactics. Selection of a tactic or, more often, a combination of tactics can then be made.


The nature of general problems resulting from recreational use of wilderness are presented in matrix form along with eight basic strategies for attaching problem. In order of frequency, the most common problems are: trail deterioration, campsite deterioration, litter, crowding, packstock impact, human waste disposal, impacts on wildlife, user conflicts, and water pollution. The eight basic strategies for attacking problems are: reduce use of the entire wilderness, reduce use of problem areas, modify the location of use within problem areas, modify the timing of use, modify type of use and visitor behavior, modify visitor expectations, increase the resistance of the resource, and maintain or rehabilitate the resource.

For each of these problems, strategies and tactics with the potential to substantially alleviate problems are listed. Tactics are specific approaches to implementing a strategy. A total of 37 tactics have been grouped according to one or another of the eight basic strategies.

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