Variability of user-based evaluative standards for backcountry encounters

David N. Cole, William P Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Backcountry visitors are often surveyed regarding their personal evaluative standards (or norms) for acceptable levels of encounters with other groups. In this study, backpackers at Grand Canyon National Park were asked about the acceptability of encounters at several times: at home prior to their trip, once each day during their trip, and at-home after their trip. Thus it was possible to assess spatial and temporal variability within individuals, as well as variation among individuals, in both the ability to provide a personal evaluative standard about number of encounters and the standard provided. Results suggest that backcountry visitors differentiate between zones in the Grand Canyon backcountry managed to provide diverse settings, including visitor density. However, there was substantial variation in the standards provided both among individuals and over time within individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-324
Number of pages12
JournalLeisure Sciences
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jul 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Backcountry management
  • Carrying capacity
  • Crowding norms
  • Encounter standards
  • Limits of acceptable change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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