Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science - Forestry



First Advisor

Pat Stephens Williams, Ph. D.

Second Advisor

Ray Darville, Ph. D.

Third Advisor

Matthew McBroom, Ph. D.


A questionnaire was distributed to backcountry campers in Yellowstone National Park for the summer of 2016. Upon registering for a backcountry camping permit, park rangers asked if campers would like to participate in the survey, which included questions regarding demographics and opinions on visitor experiences and management policies. Participants provided their names and email address and were sent a link to the questionnaire about two weeks after their trip. The survey was a partial replication of a study by Tim Oosterhous conducted in 1999 and results for both years were analyzed and compared to identify any changes in backcountry use and demographics. The response rate for the questionnaire was 50.9% for a total of 305 usable questionnaires.

The purpose of the study was to identify, by demographic, who was using the backcountry, how campers interpreted their experiences in the park, visitor preferences toward current management policies, and to test visitor knowledge of recommended wildlife safety precautions. Results indicate that, much like in 1999, campers in 2016 were typically young, white, well educated, and male. Backcountry campers stayed for one to three nights on average and supported the new permit fee implemented in 2015. Campers typically opposed commercial use in the backcountry and were well versed in safety precautions recommended by the National Park Service designed to minimize human/wildlife interactions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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