Population and Environment

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 72–91 | Cite as

An exploration of intergenerational differences in wilderness values

  • Rebecca Rasch
Brief Report

As populations and built-up environments increase around the globe, governments on every continent are setting aside pristine, natural landscapes from development to preserve their wild nature. In the USA, these areas are designated by Congress as wilderness areas and the connections people have with these wild places shape their wilderness values, i.e., the values they believe wilderness areas provide to society. Even though Congress has increased the number of acres under official wilderness protection since the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964, congressionally designated wilderness lands account for less than 3% of the contiguous United States (Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Instite (ALWRI), 2017).

Williams and Watson (2007) suggest that this increasing scarcity of wild landscapes may lead younger generations to develop an increased appreciation of wilderness— an otherworldly place, so different from their daily existence and experiences. Others warn that cohorts growing up...



The author expresses great appreciation to the members of the Wilderness Economics Working Group at the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute for their valuable and constructive suggestions during the planning and development of this research work. The thoughtful feedback from the anonymous reviewers greatly improved the quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research InstituteMissoulaUSA

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