Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Management Implications Based on Visitor Use Data from Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



We collected data about users to the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness in 2009-10. Users completed a voluntary self-registration at five main entrances to the wilderness. Wilderness issues include: wilderness is scarce in the region, the wilderness is small, it is near several metropolitan areas, use levels are high enough that solitude may be impaired, one boundary is a heavily-used USFS recreation area, dogs off-leash may affect the endangered piping plover, and the number of people who complete the trail register is very low compared to observed use levels. In some cases the USFS estimates of user demographics and patterns of use were consistent with the trail register, but in many cases there were significant differences in their predictions and recorded use levels. Management implications of this research include revising educational messages (personal contact, website, trailhead kiosk), modifying regulations, and increased enforcement in selected areas.

Conference Name

George Wright Conference

Conference Location

New Orleans

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