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Acquiring an Improved Understanding of Willmore Wilderness Park Visitors, Alberta, Canada Open Access


Other title
Willmore Wilderness Park
Protected area
Human dimension
Visitor monitoring
Place meanings
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Mucha, Debbie A
Supervisor and department
Halpenny, Elizabeth (Physical Education and Recreation)
Examining committee member and department
McFarlane, Bonita (Rural Economy)
Hvenegaard, Glen (Renewable Resources)
Physical Education and Recreation
Recreation and Leisure Studies
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
The fundamental challenge of wilderness stewardship is balancing social and ecological values while ensuring wilderness qualities are preserved. This thesis contributed to an improved understanding of wilderness visitors, and more specifically addressed the need for acquiring an improved understanding of visitor use in Willmore Wilderness Park, Alberta, Canada. A mixed-methods approach including: trail surveys, in-depth mail surveys, trail cameras, Global Positioning System (GPS) Tracksticks, and in-person/telephone interviews were utilized. Specifically, visitation levels to the main staging areas, visitor and trip characteristics, motivations, familiarity, risk perceptions, management preferences, and visitors’ relationship to Willmore were examined. A total of 195 trail surveys were completed and an 89% (n = 85) response rate from the associated in-depth mail survey was achieved. A Trackstick distribution success rate of 77% (n = 24) was obtained and 17 parks users were interviewed. By understanding more about park users and what they prefer or desire in Willmore, this project will help to balance conservation with recreation objectives.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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