The Forest Service conducted surveys in 1970, 1982 and 2004 to look at the most used trailheads, frequency of visits, and reasons for visiting wilderness along with other questions. They noticed that visitors to wilderness are increasingly older, more experienced, and have more education (62% had four-year college degrees or higher). Another shift was that wilderness users aren’t staying as long as they used to; in 1970, the average number of nights was 5.1 compared to 3.3 in 2004.
In the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the average age of a visitor in 1969 was 26, in 1991 it had increased to 36, and in 2007 the average was 45.
What trends have you noticed in the backcountry?