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Wilderness Visitor Management: Diversity and Agency Policies

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Since its inception in 1964, the National Wilderness Preservation System has been managed without formal coordination among its three major agencies--the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Because of the different missions and guiding philosophies of these agencies, management guidelines for wilderness also vary. Regulation of visitor activities within wilderness units well illustrates this diversity. In 1978, a nationwide survey of all units within the Wilderness System revealed very substantial differences among agencies in their regulation of visitor activities. By subordinating management styles to agency goals, each agency has emphasized some of the Wilderness Act's objectives and deemphasized others. This current diversity provides a desirable range of opportunities for activities appropriate to wilderness use, but coordination of agency efforts seems desirable and would enhance efforts for attainment of all Wilderness System objectives.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor of Outdoor Recreation, Texas A&M University

Publication date: September 1, 1981

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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