U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Leisure Research, 2008, Vol. 40, No.4, pp. 608–618.


Research at the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex in Montana explored differences in recreation visitors’ attitudes towards the use of management-ignited prescribed fires in the wilderness. A mail-back survey of visitors (n = 291) during the 2004 season revealed that over half of visitors would accept prescribed fires in wilderness. This support did not vary by ignition purpose: (a) to restore the natural role of fire or (b) to reduce hazardous fuels and potential for fire escaping to non-wilderness lands. Local visitors, however, were significantly more accepting of prescribed fires than non-local visitors across both ignition purposes. A smaller proportion of visitors than was expected considered the presence of natural fire undesirable.