- It has long been acknowledged that recreation activities can cause conflict
among stakeholders with different perspectives. In 1949, Aldo Leopold, one of the
earliest proponents of wilderness preservation, noted "Public policies for outdoor
recreation are controversial. Equally conscientious citizens hold opposite views on what
is and what should be done to conserve its resource base." Over the last forty years,
the Wilderness Act was passed in 1964, the appropriateness of recreational stock use in
wilderness has become the topic of exactly this kind of controversy.
When Leopold and other wilderness visionaries imagined a National Wilderness
Preservation System, they did not predict that the inclusion of pack and saddle stock in
their initiative would generate unrest. Pack stock figured prominently into the discussion
of wilderness designation and it was suggested that wilderness areas should be at least
large enough to allow for a two-week pack trip (Leopold 1921). Leopold (1949)
explained that "wilderness areas are first of all a sanctuary for primitive arts of
wilderness travel, especially canoeing and packing."
This research paper describes and elucidates the evolution of this conflict. It first
follows the history of the recreational stock issue, paying particular attention to key
events and changing strategies over time. Then it examines the various resource
perceptions of groups with an interest in recreational pack and saddle stock by outlining
their arguments. Finally, it looks at the issue from a geographic perspective to develop
some spatial understanding of the issue on a national scale.
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