Public perceptions of marine wilderness as a marine protected area designation
A representative survey of 530 residents of the most heavily populated region in Oregon (USA) showed that most believed the concept and label of wilderness could apply to the ocean. Although a majority thought Oregon's marine reserves could be called wilderness, other areas of the ocean along Oregon's coast and elsewhere in the world were seen as more appropriate for marine wilderness. Respondents also thought wilderness was more applicable to land than the ocean. Over half would not change their attitudes or visitation associated with marine areas if they were designated as wilderness. For those who would be affected by this designation, most would change their attitudes in a positive direction and increase visitation. “Marine protected area,” “marine reserve,” “marine wilderness,” and “wilderness” designations evoked different reactions among respondents with marine protected areas and reserves inferring regulations and limitations, and terrestrial and marine wildernesses eliciting notions of pristineness and purity.
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