Wilderness in Higher Education: Considerations for Educating Professionals for the Next 50 Years


  • Derrick Taff Penn State University
  • Robert G. Dvorak Central Michigan University
  • Chad P. Dawson SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Stephen F. McCool University of Montana
  • Peter A. Appel University of Georgia




Wilderness, Higher Education, Stewardship, Curriculum, Communications


Over the past 50 years, an evolution has occurred in the instruction of wilderness professionals and practitioners within the higher education realm. The National Wilderness Conference, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, provided a timely opportunity to discuss the current and future role of higher education and wilderness among academics and wilderness practitioners. During this conference, directives were released through a vision document, providing a set of shared interagency goals, priorities, and actions to guide future collaborative stewardship of designated wilderness. In this commentary stemming from this conference and aligning with the vision directives, we discuss the role of higher education and wilderness-based curriculum in the historical development of instruction, current academic practices through examples, challenges that should be considered, and suggestions for moving forward to enhance wilderness preservation and professionalism.





Essays, Practices and Commentaries