Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Recreation Management

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Bill Borrie

Commitee Members

Jennifer Thomsen, Alan Watson


wilderness solitude, digital technology, recreation management, Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex


University of Montana

Subject Categories

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.



© Copyright 2018 Thomas C. Lang