Masthead banner of Park Science: Integrating Research and Resource Management in the National Parks; ISSN 1090-9966; link to current issue
Volume 28
Number 3
Winter 2011-2012
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Search-and-rescue training at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. Park Operations
Economic impacts of search-and-rescue operations on wilderness management in the national parks
By Whitney Ward, Logan Park, and Evan Coulson
Published: 4 Sep 2015 (online)  •  14 Sep 2015 (in print)
Economic costs
Minimum tool rule
Who pays?
About the authors
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Wilderness provides natural, undeveloped, untrammeled, unconfined recreation opportunities in conjunction with a sense of primitiveness and solitude. Effective wilderness management ensures that these qualities endure over time. However, wilderness management, as noted by Nash (1982), is a paradox, meaning that there is human influence in areas where such influence is meant to be absent. Search and rescue (SAR) is just one sphere where the National Park Service (NPS) faces a wilderness management conundrum. Managers are faced with preserving life while preserving wilderness qualities, and often these management objectives are mutually exclusive. Wilderness SAR operations in the national parks can have significant and lasting ecological, social, and economic impacts. This article focuses on economic impacts of search and rescue and proposes feasible approaches to search and rescue and to reduce wilderness impacts.

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This page updated:  6 February 2012

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From the Guest Editor(s)
A Wilderness Celebration
At Your Service
Masthead Information
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Using the “Keeping It Wild” framework to develop a wilderness character monitoring protocol for the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness
Lessons learned: Merging process elements to address wilderness character and user capacity
A database application for wilderness character monitoring
Fires in wilderness in the national parks
Transboundary cooperation to achieve wilderness protection and large landscape conservation
Integrating cultural resources and wilderness character
Climate change: Wilderness’s greatest challenge
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Scientific study and enduring wilderness
The hidden consequences of fire suppression
Using acoustical data to manage for solitude in wilderness areas
Creating exploratory maps for wilderness impact surveys: Applications in campsite searches
Spiritual outcomes of wilderness experience
Remote sensing of heritage resources for research and management
Managing overnight stock use at Yosemite National Park
  Economic impacts of search-and-rescue operations on wilderness management in the national parks
Through the looking glass: What value will we see in wilderness in 2064?
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