PowerPoint (Sandee Dingman)

Other Features of Wilderness Character
January 2013
Carhart 5th Quality Webinar Series
Sandee Dingman
[email protected]
• Share some examples of other features of
wilderness character
• Describe their utility in wilderness planning
by sharing a case study
• Explore some of the relationships within
and between “other features” and other
qualities of wilderness character
• Provide some suggestions for defining other
features that contribute to wilderness
Focus on Features
• Ecological and geological values are
covered in the Natural Quality or they
include features otherwise addressed in the
5th quality.
• Focus on “….features of scientific,
educational, scenic, or historical value.”
Examples of Features of
Educational Value
Dad explains grinding slicks to young sons at
Bridge Canyon Wilderness, Lake Mead NRA
Photo by S. Dingman
• Cultural or natural
objects that convey
primary interpretive
• Opportunities for
experiential learning
• Formal or informal
Examples of Features
of Scenic Value
Mount McKinley from Wonder Lake,
Denali Wilderness Denali National Park
NPS Photo
• Iconic views
• Place-defining features
• Integral vistas (as airquality related values)
• As defined by Visual
Resource Management
Examples of Features of
Historical Value
Petroglyphs in Bridge Canyon Wilderness,
Lake Mead NRA Photo by P. Landres
• Tangible evidence of
past human
relationships to the
• Intangible past or
present relationships
to the land
Examples of Features of
Scientific Value
• Type specimen
• Location of major
scientific finds
• Rare opportunity to
study natural processes
• Place-dependent
Paleontologists work in the Badlands
Wilderness, Badlands National Park
Photos by South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Benefits of including Other
Features in Wilderness Character
Case Study: Copper Canyon Fossil Site, Death Valley
unconfined recreation
scientific features
Copper Canyon Case Study
• This canyon was closed to visitor access decades ago by
order of the Superintendent to protect rare fossil
trackways of great scientific value.
• Recent Wilderness and Backcountry Stewardship Plan
was asked to consider this public use closure through the
lens of wilderness character.
Mastadon-like tracks NPS photo
Copper and Coffin Cyns NPS photo
Closure sign at Copper Cyn. NPS photo
Analysis of Wilderness Character
at Copper Canyon
Public use closure degrades the primitive and unconfined
recreation quality of wilderness character
Evaluated the paleo resources and determined that they were
scientific features that contribute to wilderness character based
on their scientific significance and legal intent of the California
Desert Protection Act.
Decision: Chose to reconfigure and maintain closure
to protect the scientific features of wilderness character
with the understanding that it still degrades solitude
(unconfined recreation) quality but preserves other features.
Overlap between Other Features
Many features of scenic, scientific, educational, or
historical value may fit more than one category or
may enhance or be related to other categories
Most scientific features also have educational value.
Student scholar working at fossil locality
in Dinosaur National Monument. NPS Photo
Geology field trip to Permian Reef in Guadalupe
Wilderness at Guadalupe Mountains NP
NPS Photo
Many scenic features may also have cultural value
In the recommended wilderness of Glacier National Park, Ninastako (Chief Mountain) is
the home of Ksiistsikomm (Thunder). This is where raven fought with Thunder and where
Thunder gave his pipe to the Blackfeet people. NPS photo.
Some scenic features also have scientific value
These are many of the “text book”
illustrations of geologic processes that are
also iconic photographic subjects
Some historical features also have scientific value
Historic mine sites at Death Valley National
Park Wilderness exemplify the evolution of
mining technology. Photo by Charlie Callagan
Puebloan sites, such as this one a Bandalier
Wilderness, provide opportunities to study historical
climatology and ecology.
Not everything fits neatly together and there can be tensions between
“Other Features” and other Qualities, and within “Other Features.”
Badwater Basin, Death Valley NP Wilderness Photo by P. Landres
• A historic cabin site can be a historical feature that
contributes to wilderness character but the
presence of the structure can still degrade the
undeveloped quality and its associated
impoundment of a water source can still degrade
the undeveloped, natural and untrammeled
• An instrumented feature of scientific importance
can still degrade the undeveloped and solitude
qualities. It can also compromise it’s scenic value.
An analogy…..
When determining what to include in the fifth
quality, be…
• Thoughtful
o Use a multidisciplinary approach
• Justifiable
o Document your process and criteria
• Exclusive
o If everything is included then nothing is special and there
are practical reasons to be focused
• Specific
o Clearly articulate what features or categories of features
are included in Wilderness Character
Other Features are an important part of Wilderness Character
but the whole of wilderness is more than the sum of it’s parts.
"Primarily Wilderness areas provide me with access to a world pretty much left untrammeled by
humanity. There, I can see the natural unfolding of life, death, erosion, renewal, and feel closer
to the great mystery of creation. It is the protection such places get from the extractive and
consumptive nature of human activity that draws me there. They provide for me islands of
originality, and their very presence makes me hopeful for the future. So much of the world is
taken over for mankind, what is wild should wild remain.” David “Malakai” McMullen 2009

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