|Abstract or Summary
- Increasingly popular methods for managing impacts of tourism in nature-based settings include collaborative and voluntary codes of conduct. In southeast Alaska, for example, the Tourism Best Management Practices (TBMP) in Juneau and Wilderness Best Management Practices (WBMP) in Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness have been created to address shore and marine based tourism (e.g., cruise ships). This thesis contains three articles examining stakeholder: (a) definitions of wilderness and their influence on perceptions of the WBMP process, (b) motivations for collaboration in the WBMP and effects of this process on stakeholder relations, and (c) perceptions of indicators in the WBMP and motivations for compliance. Data were obtained from 28 interviews with tour operators, cruise industry representatives, US Forest Service personnel, and local residents. Findings in the first article showed that most respondents had some degree of purism in their definitions of wilderness (e.g., solitude, minimal impact), although cruise industry personnel had less purist definitions. With the exception of cruise representatives, most respondents felt that the wilderness character of this wilderness area was being threatened by vessel traffic,
especially cruise ships. Most interviewees supported the WBMP as an alternative to regulations because it allowed for personal freedom and input into rulemaking, but many felt that the WBMP may be unable to address some future effects of tourism in the area. Many of the smaller and more purist operators felt that if the pristine character of this area was threatened, they might support regulations. Most stakeholders, however, displayed a type of cognitive dissonance by expressing concern over threats to the wilderness character of this area, yet rejecting formal regulations that may be needed for protecting the wilderness experiences they value most. Results from the second article demonstrated that the WBMP has enhanced stakeholder relations by improving communication and dialogue, and instilling an ethic of compromise and sharing. Lack of trust, however, was a concern, especially between smaller tour operators and cruise lines due to a perception that cruise lines are not following all of the WBMP guidelines. There was concern regarding how inclusive the WBMP should be, as many cruise representatives felt that local residents should not participate. Respondents also stated some concerns with Juneau's TBMP that could be used as lessons for improving the WBMP (e.g., noncompliance, incentives, monitoring). Findings covered in the third article showed that stakeholders considered the most contentious guideline in the WBMP to be the preservation of solitude, but they felt that the most important guidelines involved environmental factors such as impacts of tourism on seals. Compliance with the WBMP guidelines was motivated by altruism, peer pressure, and self-interest. Noncompliance was attributed to a lack of awareness of the WBMP and effects of noncompliant behavior,
and perceptions that the WBMP was an example of government interference in private business operations. These findings may help agencies continue facilitating the WBMP and similar collaborative processes in other locales.