Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Recreation Management

Department or School/College

Society and Conservation

Committee Chair

William T. Borrie

Commitee Members

Elizabeth C Metcalf, Alan Watson


Unconfined, Wilderness, unconfined type of recreation, unconfined experience, unconfined wilderness experience


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Leisure Studies


The principal aim of this study was to increase our understanding of an “unconfined type of recreation”. This management objective is mandated by the Wilderness Act of 1964 and has received little empirical focus within visitor experience research. A 20-item survey research scale was developed and found to be valid and reliable when considering what is important to feeling unconfined in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana. The scale included four components or factors that were labeled, “Free Choice”, “Untethering from Responsibility”, “Making Own Plans”, and “Exploring”. In addition, the Perceived Freedom in Leisure Scale was administered and showed that the majority of respondents display high leisure functioning. Three clusters of respondents were formed based on the 20-item unconfined component scores, but these groups were not found to differ by any trip or visitor characteristic. Therefore, when agencies manage for outstanding opportunities for an unconfined type of recreation they should not target any one type of wilderness visitor or trip characteristic.

Available for download on Sunday, December 15, 2019



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