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Characteristics of Travel by Persons Lost in Albertan Wilderness Areas

Authors
Journal
Journal of Environmental Psychology
0272-4944
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
18
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1006/jevp.1998.0093

Abstract

Abstract We examined 162 incidents of persons lost in wilderness areas in southwestern Alberta, Canada. Measures of travel by lost persons are organized for use by search managers. Specifically, we tabulated crow's-flight distance traveled and dispersion of travel by different categories of wilderness users. The distribution of crow's-flight distance of outdoor travel can be described by the Wakeby equation, regardless of whether the lost person is hiking, cross-country skiing, or mountain biking. Quantitative differences in the distribution are consistent with a common-sense geographical distinction between front and back country wilderness. However, the distribution is qualitatively different for lost persons who walk away from interpersonal conflict or are despondent.

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