Year of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department or School/College
College of Forestry and Conservation
Jennifer Thomsen, Alan Watson
wilderness solitude, digital technology, recreation management, Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex
University of Montana
Environmental Studies | Philosophy of Mind | Science and Technology Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Recent advances in mobile communication technology have led to a decrease in opportunities for individuals to experience alone-time within daily life. As a result, the solitude offered by wilderness landscapes has become all the more valuable. Past research on wilderness solitude has been divided into two distinct frameworks: the Social-Spatial Perspective and the Humanistic Perspective. This distinction has severely limited the development of a comprehensive research model that incorporates all the possible conditions relating to wilderness solitude. This study synthesized past research and theory to create a quantitative model of wilderness solitude which includes elements from both research perspectives, while incorporating novel conditions that relate to digital connectivity. Study participants were wilderness visitors to Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex during the summer and fall of 2017. Exploratory factor analysis revealed four components of wilderness solitude. These components suggest that our interpretation of the “opportunities for solitude” clause within the Wilderness Act of 1964 ought to consider the themes of Societal Release, Introspection, Physical Separation and De-tethering from Digital Connectivity.
Lang, Thomas Cavanaugh, "Wilderness Solitude in the 21st Century" (2018).
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© Copyright 2018 Thomas C. Lang