Published in International Journal of Wilderness, Volume 12, Issue 2, August 1, 2006, pages 23-31.
Copyright © 2006 WILD Foundation.
Persons with disabilities are using the National Wilderness Preservation System, and they are receiving a range of benefits from such wilderness use. The means-end theoretical and analysis perspective was used to explore the outcomes and related meanings associated with participating in a wilderness experience program for people with disabilities as well as those without disabilities. Data were collected through a questionnaire completed by 193 trip participants (74 with disabilities and 119 without disabilities) immediately after their wilderness experience, and a telephone interview with 29 of those same participants conducted six months later. The wilderness visitors with disabilities are able to transfer the outcomes gained on the wilderness trip into parts of their lives when they return home—parts of their lives such as family, work, and their general perspective on life. The results show that participation in these inclusive wilderness trips results in a higher appreciation of nature and the wilderness for persons with disabilities. In fact, the wilderness environment is an integral component that generates these benefits.
Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration