Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Wildland Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Forest Science

Committee Chair(s)

James J. Kennedy


James J. Kennedy


Perry Brown


John Priollaud


The High Uinta Primitive Area, Utah's most popular high mountain recreation area, has a reputation as an excellent trout and grayling fishery. Proposed for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System, the area faces several management dilemmas. The primary problem being that managers must protect the resource from the effects of heavy recreational use without destroying the primitive and aesthetic dimensions of wilderness environment. It appears that much impact on the more accessible lakes is due to fishing use. The objectives of the study were: (1) to determine the proportions of angling to non-angling groups; (2) to describe certain characteristics of these anglers; (3) to examine the importance of fishing and factors affecting fishing enjoyment; and (4) to determine the angler's knowledge and experience with adjacent de facto wilderness alternatives.

The method of data collection was an interview questionnaire administered on Highline trail leading into the Primitive area and Notch Mountain trail leading to de facto wildlands. A conservative stratified sampling scheme was used to obtain proper representation of weekday, weekend and holiday users of both areas. Results were coded and punched for computer organization and tabulation.

The results indicate that slightly more than half the groups contacted were comprised of one or more fishermen planning to fish the study area; with slightly greater proportions of anglers using the Primitive area.

Over half the anglers were visiting the areas for the first time and were motivated by the desire to "escape" from routine, get outdoors, and enjoy mountain scenery. Fishing was not an important motive but was a preferred activity. Anglers of the study areas fished more than average Utah fishermen and preferred high mountain lake and stream fisheries.

Anglers reported high catch rates and mostly rated the fishing as "good". Hypothetical catch reductions did not bother anglers because as many stated, "fishing was secondary". However, the dissatisfactions of less successful anglers and the angler's desire to maintain the fishery through stocking still reveal some importance in fishing activity. Anglers also appeared to be somewhat intolerant with increased crowd levels.

Most anglers were inexperienced and ignorant of de facto alternatives. It appeared that decisions regarding such alternatives were partially based on Notch Mountain standards. Also, the accessibility and high amounts of day-use suggest that different kinds of experiences may be sought in the Notch Mountain area.