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Tourism and wilderness: dancing with the messy monsterAuthor(s): Ralf Buckley
Source: In: McCool, Stephen F.; Cole, David N.; Borrie, William T.; O’Loughlin, Jennifer, comps. 2000. Wilderness science in a time of change conference—Volume 2: Wilderness within the context of larger systems; 1999 May 23–27; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 186-189
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: View PDF (100 B)
DescriptionCurrently, tourism offers one of the best prospects for conserving remaining areas of unprotected wilderness in most parts of the world. Tourism produces environmental impacts, and in heavily-visited protected areas these impacts may be a significant threat to conservation values and a major management issue; along with other anthropogenic impacts such as weeds, pests, pathogens, and pollution. The impacts of tourism are generally far less than those of other industry sectors such as forestry, farming, mining or commercial fisheries, however, so if tourism can displace these land uses, there is a net gain for wilderness despite the impacts of tourism itself. Tourism is not an ideal tool for conservation, but in most of the world, and at least in the short term, it is perhaps the only one with sufficient political and economic clout to be effective.
The human economy behaves like a rather messy monster which creates impacts on the global environment not only by consuming raw materials and excreting waste products, but by accidental damage caused through messy habits, clumsiness and inattention. The monster’s size is increasing much faster than its manners, and its tentacles are probing further into every corner of its habitat. Using tourism and recreation as a tool for wilderness conservation is like dancing with the messy monster in a crowded cage: risky, but unavoidable.
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CitationBuckley, Ralf. 2000. Tourism and wilderness: dancing with the messy monster. In: McCool, Stephen F.; Cole, David N.; Borrie, William T.; O’Loughlin, Jennifer, comps. 2000. Wilderness science in a time of change conference—Volume 2: Wilderness within the context of larger systems; 1999 May 23–27; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 186-189
Keywordswilderness, tourism, outdoor recreation, environmental impacts, conservation
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