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Data on wilderness experience stewardship from a 2001-2002 visitor survey at Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve

Publication Year: 
Author: Glaspell, Brian; Watson, Alan E.; Kneeshaw, Katie; Pendergrast, Don; Christensen, Neal A.; Liljeblad, Adam

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve (GAAR) is a remote area in the Brooks Range of northern Alaska. GAAR contains more than 7 million acres of federally designated wilderness, but hosts only about 600 recreation visitors per year. A two-year, two-phase project was implemented at GAAR to provide scientific input to visitor management and backcountry planning. In phase I (2001) qualitative methods (in-depth interviews) were used to develop an understanding of the nature of visitor experiences and to identify significant influences on those experiences. Results identified five broad experience dimensions and several potential factors of influence upon those experiences. In phase II of the research project (2002), a quantitative survey of 201 recreation visitors and 18 commercial operators in GAAR was conducted to investigate and validate the distribution of phase I results. Phase I produced data in the form of interviews, transcribed verbatim, and sound recordings, containing interview excerpts. Phase II data was generated from survey responses, in the form of text files.