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Perceptions of stakeholders regarding wilderness and best management practices in an Alaska recreation area


Emily F. Pomeranz
Mark D. Needham



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Pacific Northwest Research Station


Managing Sport and Leisure. 20(1): 36–55. 


This article focuses on the collaborative and voluntary Wilderness Best Management Practices (WBMP) for managing recreation in Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness in Alaska. Stakeholder definitions of wilderness, opinions about the WBMP, and whether these opinions are reflective of their perceptions of wilderness are examined. Interviews with tour operators, agency personnel, cruise industry representatives, and local residents showed that most expressed some degree of purism in their definitions of wilderness (e.g. solitude and minimal impact), although cruise representatives had less purist definitions. With the exception of cruise representatives, most felt that the wilderness character of this area is threatened by vessel traffic. Most supported the WBMP as alternatives to regulations because they allowed for freedom and input, but many felt that these practices may be unable to address future impacts. A few small and more purist operators felt that if the wilderness characteristics were threatened, they might support regulations. Others, however, displayed a type of cognitive dissonance by expressing concern over threats to this wilderness, yet rejecting regulations that may be needed for protecting the wilderness experiences they value the most.


Pomeranz, Emily F.; Needham, Mark D.; Kruger, Linda E. 2015. Perceptions of stakeholders regarding wilderness and best management practices in an Alaska recreation area. Managing Sport and Leisure. 20(1): 36–55.


Publication Notes

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