User perceptions about marine wilderness on Australia's Great Barrier Reef Academic Article uri icon


  • Wilderness traditionally has been a terrestrial resource designation. This study examined user perceptions related to the existence of wilderness in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP), and raises questions about the efficacy of the GIS based Australian National Wilderness Inventory (ANWI) as a method of inventorying and analyzing wilderness settings in the absence of such perceptions. Three hundred eighty-three users of the GBRMP were surveyed. Results indicated that over 80% of the respondents believed that wilderness existed in the park, and that it existed both above and below the surface of the water. Characteristics of wilderness related to human presence, natural features, and remoteness were found to be important to marine wilderness. Responses revealed that remoteness (physical distance) from human development may warrant less weight in the designation of marine wilderness than implied as necessary by the ANWI. We discuss implications for selecting areas as wilderness and using the wilderness designation in marine settings. 1998 Taylor & Francis.

published proceedings

  • Coastal Management

author list (cited authors)

  • Shafer, C. S., & Benzaken, D.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Shafer, C Scott||Benzaken, Dominique

publication date

  • January 1998