Wilderness Management Distance Education Program

The Wilderness Management Distance Education Program (WMDEP) offers accredited university courses for a comprehensive study of wilderness management. WMDEP is a valuable tool for understanding the wilderness resource and the issues surrounding its management-includes topics form philosophy and ecology to recreation and planning. 

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NRSM 406/563
Registration Deadline: September 27
Course Dates: October 2, 2017–January 26, 2018

Course credit offered through The University of Montana, Missoula, MT

Wilderness Institute Staff Contact: kari.gunderson@umontana.edu


NRSM 406 and NRSM 563 explore basic planning theory, planning concepts, and effective plan writing. The course provides a thorough treatment of the elements that characterize effective planning on public lands. A substantial part of this discussion is the role of public participation in planning. It also discusses differences in planning among the four federal land management agencies, with a comparison of the philosophy and application of each.

Moving from planning to application, the course then provides examples of the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) framework and Keeping It Wild (KIW2), currently two of the most widely used planning processes in wilderness. This provides a model for identifying the elements necessary to provide a workable plan, one that is ultimately capable of being implemented. The role of indicators and standards of quality in wilderness is likewise discussed, as is the importance of executing a monitoring program. 

The course is designed to meet the needs of a broad range of students from wilderness professionals, outdoor recreational planners and educators, to members of conservation groups and interested citizens.