History Papers

Pioneers of Wilderness Research: The Wilderness Management Unit

This article explores the history of Forest Service Research’s Wilderness Management Unit, the pioneering research group that existed from 1968 to 1993. It describes the research themes pursued during three time periods, when the unit was staffed with different but overlapping personnel.  It notes important studies that were conducted, research findings and management implications and concludes with some thoughts about the unit’s legacy. Shortened versions of this article have been published in International Journal of Wilderness and Forest History Today.

Wilderness Sciences, A Historical Perspective

This article, published in the International Journal of Wilderness in 2014, briefly surveys the history of wilderness science. It describes the three most productive early themes of wilderness science: studies of wilderness visitors, recreation impacts on the environment and fire ecology, as well as some of the more diverse recent themes.

Perspectives On The History of Wilderness Research

This article, taken from a presentation at the first wilderness science conference in 1985, surveys the history of wilderness science through the early 1980s. In addition to describing the foremost themes and findings of wilderness science, it discusses the size of the research effort and offers five recommendations for maximizing the contribution of a small research effort to a large wilderness system.

Leave No Trace: How it Came to Be

This article, written in 2018, describes how the Leave No Trace program developed, particularly in its most formative period—1985 to 1993. During this period, both the messages conveyed by the program and the ways they were delivered were systematized and institutionalized. Much of this work was done in concert with wilderness science. A shortened version of this article has been published in International Journal of Wilderness.

Leave No Trace: How It Came To Be: David N Cole

Community and Fire Ecologists, Park Biologists, and Recreation Scientists: The Antecedents of Wilderness Science

This article the antecedents of wilderness science. It surveys the contributions of early community and fire ecologists, park biologists and recreation scientists who did wilderness relevant science prior to passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964.

Community and Fire Ecologists, Park Biologists, and Recreation Scientists: The Antecedents of Wilderness Science: David N. Cole