Bill Borrie

Photo of Borrie, Bill

Bill Borrie

Affiliate Professor of Park and Recreation Management

Personal Summary

Bill Borrie was born in Melbourne, Australia and received his Ph.D. from the College of Natural Resources, Virginia Tech and masters and bachelors degrees from the School of Forestry, University of Melbourne, Australia. He has been with the faculty at the University of Montana since 1995, and before that taught at the University of Melbourne and Bendigo College, Australia. Bill has conducted research in Yellowstone National Park; the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex; the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness; the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge; Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia; Region 1 of the US Forest Service, Oregon and Washington; Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona; and with the Bureau of Parks and Recreation, Portland, Oregon. He has worked in National Parks and protected areas in Australia and Germany, as well as with the Pacific Crest Outward Bound School. His research interests are focused on the outdoor recreation experience, and on the meanings of parks and wilderness. Bill was co-chair of the 2004 and 2005 NRPA Leisure Research Symposium and Chair of UM's Faculty Senate in 2015/16. He is currently with the School of Life & Environmental Sciences at Deakin University, Australia.


Bachelor of Forest Science; The University of Melbourne, Australia
Master of Forest Science; The University of Melbourne, Australia
Doctor of Philosophy; Virginia Tech, USA

Field of Study

Park & Recreation Management
Outdoor Recreation Experiences
Perceived Notion of Wilderness

Honors / Awards

Excellence in Wilderness Stewardship Research Award (2012, 2018) -- Chief, U.S. Forest Service.

Elected Fellow, Academy of Leisure Sciences (2019).

Selected Publications

Engendering Wilderness (written with Angela Meyer). This study considers how some people with non-heteronormative genders and sexualities experience their bodies and their gender(s) in wilderness and what these stories might reveal about the broader implications of gender difference in U.S. society as well as the distinctiveness of wilderness settings. 

Personal Wilderness Relationships: Building on a Transactional Approach (written with Robert Dvorak and Alan Watson). The human experience of wilderness is an evolving, long-term, enduring relationship. We have evidence of a predictive model to examine the influence of place attachment, place meanings, life centrality, trust, and commitment within an overarching relationship concept.

Determinants of Trust for Public Lands: Fire and fuels management (written with Adam Liljeblad and Alan Watson). The trust by the public in the management of public lands is an important indicator of likely success for the U.S. Forest Service. This paper looks at the components most likely to influence that trust, and measured 14 attributes that were hypothesized to contribut to it. 

Winter Visitors to Yellowstone National Park: Their value orientations and support for management actions
National Parks embrace a diversity of values, and it is suggested that those values underlie conflicting attitudes towards park management actions.

Public Purpose Recreation Marketing: A focus on the relationships between the public and public lands
Public purpose marketing emphasizes factors such as trust, commitment and social responsibility that recreation managers need to consider in relating and communicating with the public.
The Dynamic, Emergent, and Multi-phasic Nature of On-site Wilderness Experiences
The wilderness is not a single, coherent experience, but rather a multi-faceted experience that ebbs and flows across time. Describes ten dimensions of the wilderness experience and shows how they change across the course of wilderness experiences in the Okefenokee Wilderness of southern Georgia.
Approaches to Measuring Quality of the Wilderness Experience 
Setting standards for the maintenance of quality wilderness experiences will require sophisticated measurement techniques. This paper describes four main approaches.
Why Primitive Experiences in Wilderness? 
The U.S. Wilderness Act of 1964 calls for “outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined experience”. As part of an effort by the USDA Forest Service Wilderness Monitoring Committee to understand wilderness character, this paper examines the intellectual origins and problematic ideals of the notion of primitiveness.   They may not be as politically appropriate and benign as when they were first suggested. 

Turning Wilderness into Zoos?  
And I, too, wish to speak a word for wildness. For freedom, too. Freedom for critters, and freedom for people. I seek knowing human participation in wilderness.

Crossing Methodological Boundaries: Assessing Visitor Motivations and Support for Management Actions at Yellowstone National Park Using Quantitative and Qualitative Research Approaches (written with Mae Davenport, Wayne Freimund and Bob Manning).
A quick description of winter visitor experiences and attitudes towards management options designed to protect wildlife in Yellowstone National Park.
Women, Wilderness, and Everyday Life (written with Sarah Pohl and Michael Patterson).
Examines the connection between wilderness experiences and social change for women. 
Disneyland and Disney World: Constructing the environment, designing the visitor experience.
Disney is the expert at providing locations and experiences for the recreational visitor. As managers move more towards a customer-driven approach, will Disney become the standard against which they are judged?
The Impacts of Technology on the Meaning of Wilderness (written with Wayne Freimund).
Technology not only changes the wilderness experience, but it has the potential to change the very meaning of wilderness. Technology can manipulate our wants, needs, and expectations. Technology raises a particular view of wilderness to greater prevalence. And technology may mask our ability to distinguish and determine what is lost in so doing.
Protected Area Planning Principles and Strategies (written with Stephen McCool and George Stankey). Discusses the need for planning frameworks for the management of protected areas and some principles of visitor management. The use of carrying capacity approaches is critiqued, and the advantages of the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) system are discussed.
Factors that Limit Compliance with Low-impact Recommendations (written with James Harding & David Cole). 
Knowing what to do may not be the only limiting factor in recreationists following Leave No Trace recommendations. Knowing when, why, and how it is socially appropriate to follow low-impact recommendations may be just as important.
Examining Winter Visitor Use in Yellowstone National Park (written with Mae Davenport, Wayne Freimund, Bob Manning & others). 
Describes quantitative and qualitative research conducted with snowmobilers and cross-country skiers in Yellowstone.
Appropriateness to pay: Is Wilderness a unique recreation experience? 
Considers the appropriateness of user fees for wilderness locations. Why are some visitors offended ? They can pay, will pay, but do not feel they should pay. 
Benefits-Based Management 
Describing the application of Benefits-based Management to a local community parks and recreation setting in Portland, Oregon. Includes discussion of Benefits-based Management and community-based knowledge.
The Problems of Post-hoc Questionnaires 
Questions the use of mail-back questionnaires for accurate description of actual events, conditions, and feelings during a recreational experience. Includes discussion of cognitive psychology and survey research methods. 
The Authentic Wilderness Experience ? 
Describes six dimensions of a wilderness experience (oneness, humility, primitiveness, timelessness, solitude and care), that were developed from the writings of wilderness scholars such as Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Sigurd Olson. 
Heidegger, Leisure and Wilderness 
Can the work of continental philosopher Martin Heidegger provide a philosophical underpinning for works examining the leisure experience in wilderness ? Examines some of the intriguing similarities between Heidegger's ideas and the concepts of leisure and wilderness. 
The Priming Hypothesis 
Why does our understanding of behavior performed in the past help us predict behavior in the future ? Examines the theories that explain the role of previous behavior on intentions for future behavior. The priming hypothesis is found to be able to predict finding that neither the trait, consistency, nor attitude change hypotheses can explain.