Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Recreation, Parks and Tourism Resources

Committee Chair

Robert Burns

Committee Co-Chair

Chad Pierskalla

Committee Member

David Smaldone


The overall purpose of this thesis was to identify gender-based and regional differences in wilderness recreation. First, demographic information, trip characteristics, motivation satisfaction, crowding and conflict variables were analyzed across all wilderness areas. Then, regional differences and gender-based differences were examined.;On-site surveys were conducted in eight wilderness areas in the Klamath National Forest and the Stanislaus National Forest in California, as well as in the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests in Oregon. Data collection took place in summer and early fall of 2010 and resulted in a total of 2,559 usable surveys. Frequencies and valid percentages were used to describe characteristics of the entire sample. Independent samples t-tests, One Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), and Pearson's Chi square test were utilized to analyze differences between the three regions and between female and male visitors.;The majority of the sample was male. Education and income levels tended to be high and there was a wide age range. Very few respondents said they were Hispanic or Latino and most respondents identified as white. The sample was evenly split between day users and overnight users. The most popular primary activities were hiking and walking, backpacking, camping, and viewing natural features. Satisfaction levels were high, while crowding and conflict levels were low. Motivational items relating to the physical setting and catharsis items were most important for respondents.;The comparison between wilderness areas in the three different regions revealed that similar overall patterns hold true for each of the individual regions. Generally, satisfaction levels were high, crowding and conflict were not an issues, and physical settings and catharsis items played the most important role regarding motivations. However, compared to the other portions of the sample visitors in the Stanislaus National Forest seem somewhat different with regards to motivations and satisfaction levels.;The analysis of gender based differences across all wilderness areas revealed several significant results with regards to motivations and trip characteristics. Still, none of the overall significant variables were also significant for all three of the individual regions. Nevertheless, there were some trends that were apparent in each region: Women were more likely to be day users, they spent less time recreating in wilderness, and they often place higher importance on motivational items than their male counterparts. There was an unusually high proportion of female visitors in the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests. Also, a larger amount of variables produced significant results for the comparison between males and females in this region. Findings from this study suggest that gender-based differences vary from one area to another and therefore should always be discussed in a regional context. Last, this thesis discusses suggestions for future research projects and management implications.