PTRM 407/PTRM 562

PTRM 407 Management of Recreation Resources (3 credits Undergraduate) or
PTRM 562 Managing Recreation Resources in Wilderness Settings (3 credits G)

PTRM 407 and PTRM 562 explore and discuss how to manage for quality visitor experiences including examples of common problems and solutions. Managing to minimize recreational impacts is covered in detail in a separate chapter. Other chapters include wilderness education and information techniques, as well as law enforcement and emergency response.

Managing Recreation Resources deals with the human dimension of wilderness by focusing on managing wilderness for visitor use and enjoyment, and by representing ways to solve problems associated with visitors' expectations and their impacts.


Chapter 1: Managing the visitor experience provides students with a basic understanding of wilderness uses, users, and trends and projections of wilderness use. This section also discusses the importance of quality in the visitor experience, and how to monitor indicators to benefit both visitors and the wilderness resource.

Chapter 2: Managing recreation impacts is a more detailed examination of the inevitable impacts of recreation use, including strategies for dealing with existing impacts and planning approaches for preventing impacts. Included in this discussion are methods of monitoring soil and vegetation impacts to campsites and trails, real-life problems concerning campsites, trails, stock impacts, etc. and possible solutions.

Chapter 3: Education and information are important tools for managing visitors and their impacts. This section presents conceptual approaches to learning, and describes concepts that are applicable to various wilderness education programs.

Chapter 4: Emergency and law enforcement training are an uncommon but essential part of managing wilderness visitors. This section discusses the techniques for handling various emergency situations in wilderness differences in how agencies approach search and rescue. A particularly interesting section teaches ways of persuading visitors to comply with regulations and reduce impacts by appealing to their environmental sensibilities, rather than by presenting the threatening authority of rules, laws, and fines.


  1. Recognize that an understanding of wilderness use and users is essential to appropriate wilderness management, including the ability to describe existing use, users, trends, and projections.
  2. Explain the dimensions and significance of visitors' wilderness experiences and the factors that influence them, including the effects of direct and indirect management.
  3. Describe different techniques commonly used to manage physical and social impacts of wilderness visitors. Discuss the Limits of Acceptable Change, Carrying Capacity, and Visitor Experience Resource Protection, and Keep it Wild management approaches.
  4. Describe the importance of monitoring social and physical indicators of wilderness conditions. Explain why standards of wilderness quality are important and illustrate how they are generated.
  5. Identify the importance of communicating information to the public and the role education plays in managing wilderness impacts. Understand the conceptual approaches to learning and describe when each is appropriate. Illustrate the elements of an effective visitor education program.
  6. Understand the provisions and approaches of the different agencies' emergency responses. Describe the wilderness manager's obligation to provide public safety.

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Tuition and Fees

Undergraduate Credit- $850
Graduate Credit- $1100
Credit recording fee- $155 (required if taking course for academic credit)


Dawson, Chad P. and Hendee, John C. 2009. Wilderness Management. Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado.

Hammitt, W.E. and D.N. Cole. 2015. Wildland Recreation: Ecology and Management. Wiley. New York, NY.

Beck, Larry and Cable, Ted. 2011. The Gifts of Interpretation. Fifteen Guiding Principles for Interpreting
Nature and Culture. Sagamore Publishing, Champaign, IL.