Wilderness manager’s deal with science in two basic ways, the first is using science findings to inform wilderness stewardship and the second is determining when to allow scientists to conduct research in wilderness areas. The agencies that manage wilderness recognize the need for wilderness science as do wilderness managers, as demonstrated in the 2014 survey of NWPS managers. Based on survey results, priorities for better science-based information include (1) understanding public attitudes toward management for adapting to climate change, (2) determining public attitudes toward ecological restoration, (3) understanding what is important about wilderness to
different stakeholders and to America’s diversifying population, and (4) improved understanding of spiritual values and uses of wilderness. Managers also indicated that more research was needed to help them restore fire to its natural ecological role and requested more comprehensive protocols to inventory and monitor natural resources.
Also, managers face the challenge of balancing between the Wilderness Act’s mandate to allow wilderness to be used as a place to do science while keeping wilderness untrammeled and natural. We provide two presentations here for use in wilderness meetings and training sessions. The first is titled Wilderness Science for Stewardship describing why science is important to managers and providing a variety of examples. The second presentation is titled Conducting Science in Wilderness and explains the challenges wilderness managers face when deciding to allow research to be conducted in wilderness.