Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Environment and Society

Committee Chair(s)

Wayne Freimund


Wayne Freimund


Anna Miller


Zach Miller


B. Derrick Taff


The length of stay in wilderness areas is declining and, in many areas, day visitors comprise most of all use. Most prior research exploring this trend took place in the 1990s and few studies of wilderness visitation account for the increase in outdoor recreation participation over the last decade. Lack of understanding surrounding this trend raises questions about managerial and philosophical approaches to the recreation-wilderness relationship. This study explored these topics within visitor use management approaches used by the National Park Service, which manages the proposed Glen Canyon Wilderness, near Escalante, Utah, where this research took place.

Results of this study found differences between how day and multi-day wilderness visitors perceive social and natural resource conditions in the study area and how some conditions impact their overall experience. This research also found how long multi-day visitors stay in the backcountry to be a predictor of how certain conditions impact their experience. Both day and multi-day visitors to the Glen Canyon Wilderness rated encountering other visitors as positively impacting their experience and largely opposed management actions which would limit a primitive and unconfined type of recreation in the area.