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Wilderness rock climbing indicators and climbing management implications in the National Park Service

McHugh, Kate Yvonne (2019) Wilderness rock climbing indicators and climbing management implications in the National Park Service. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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This pilot study addresses the need to characterize monitoring indicators for wilderness climbing in the National Park Service (NPS) as which are important to monitoring efforts as components in climbing management programs per Director’s Order #41, Section 7.2 Climbing. This research adopts a utilitarian conceptual framework suited to applied management objectives. Critically, it advances analytical connections between science and management through an integrative review of the resources informing park planning; including law and policy, climbing management documents, academic research on climbing management, recreation ecology, and interagency wilderness character monitoring strategies. Monitoring indicators include biophysical, social, and administrative topics related to climbing and are conceptually structured based on the interagency wilderness character monitoring model. The wilderness climbing indicators require both field and administrative monitoring; field monitoring of the indicators should be implemented by climbing staff and skilled volunteers as part of a patrol program, and administrative indicators mirror administrative wilderness character monitoring methods that can be carried out by a park’s wilderness coordinator or committee. Indicators, monitoring design, and recommended measures were pilot tested in two locations: Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree National Parks. Results indicate that monitoring indicators are: plants; animals; geologic resources; ecological processes; use of motorized equipment; remoteness from sights and sounds of human activity inside wilderness; facilities that decrease self-reliant recreation; management restrictions on visitor behavior; deterioration of loss of integral cultural features; and deterioration of loss of other features of value. This research provides a foundation for monitoring, assessing, and managing wilderness climbing resources in NPS wilderness areas. Keywords: rock climbing, wilderness, national park, impact, monitoring, indicator, management, plan, change, Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon, recreation.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: impact; monitoring; national park; recreation; rock climbing; wilderness
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Geography, Planning and Recreation
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2022 23:09
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2022 23:09
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5594

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