Yellowstone National Park Fire Issues Term Paper

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Helens was for viewing the crater and the experience of the volcano instead of mountain climbing per se and even more of a draw that personal testing or challenge. (Ewert, 1990; paraphrased)

Upon completion of group meetings the 300 individuals were randomly selected from a registration list for the period beginning in may and ending in august 1987, totaling 1000 individuals. Each of the 300 chosen in this random selection process were mailed a questionnaire containing 16 items.



The study was conducted through use of a multimethod methodology which Brewer and Hunter (1989) advocated and a study that was both quantitative and qualitative in nature. The questionnaire was the quantitative section of the study and upon finalization and distribution and then following group focus meetings qualitative sessions were conducted for the purpose of refining the instrument's wording and to inform the researcher of the "issues and concerns of climbers." (Ewert, 1990)


The survey yielded 229 total questionnaires that were useable in this study which was determined to be those at least 76% complete. Ewert states that this response rate is "well within the typical range of responses from social science-based research efforts." (1990) Resulting was that there was not testing conducted on the data of nonrespondent testing. The respondents to this study are self-described moderately or very experienced climbers stated at 54% and 42% respectively. There was a standard deviation stated at 10.2 by Ewert (1990) which suggests."..that there was a wide range of experience within this classification. Just as in most studies this study of 'backcountry' users were primarily male stated at 81% with a mean age of 39 years old which was a standard deviation of 10.7 according to Ewert. It is related that the largest majority of participant/climbers in this study, stated at 87% "were independent climbers rather than engaged with a climbing or outing club. It appears from the reports findings concerning the regulation of the optimal number of climbers per day that the total of 100 individual climbers was seen as reasonable and the majority or 70% reported agreeing that 100 was a good number however, 21% are stated to have indicated "that the allocation limit was too low and 9% reporting that "the allocation limit was too low" while 9% thought 100 per day was too many at once to climb. (Ewert, 1990) the following chart shows the responses in the range of 1 to five on the importance assigned with the activity's and motivations for climbing Mount St. Helens with 1 being "not important" and 5 being "very important.

Motivations for Climbing Mount St. Helens

Source: Ewert (1990)

The largest portion of climbers agreed with the 100 per day climber limitation as being reasonable. It is however noted that each circumstance should be given individual consideration. Detrimental to user satisfaction in Ewert's study on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being 'least' and 5 being 'most' important were those items and ratings as follows:

Litter 1.6

Human Waste 1.7

Encounters with other groups 1.9

Trampled vegetation 2.0

People on crater rim 2.0

Airplane/Helicopter Presence or Sounds 2.1

From these findings it can be discerned that the more civilization the less the satisfaction to those who climb Mount St. Helens.


This study has established the fact that the reasons that participants in this study climb Mount St. Helens was for viewing the volcano and being able to observe the natural processes and ongoing changes in the volcano area. In the volcano experience, this study has found that Ewert clearly shows that solitude or to develop individual climbing skills are not desired for the purposes of climbing Mt. St. Helens. While these are historically and traditionally believed and even shown to be reasons individuals choosing to mountain climb this study has shown that this just simply is not the case at Mount St. Helens. This study has noted that allowing managers who are on-site the autonomy to deal with individual situations regarding climber limitations would be optimal as shown in the study. Ewert finds in his study that reported perceptions of crowding by participant/respondent climbers in…[continue]

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