During the second half of the twentieth century there was an exponential growth of participation in adventurous sports undertaken in relatively wild locations.2
This was especially true amongst the populations of economically favoured countries, and this trend appears to continue unabated into the new millennium.3
Indeed, to the extent that members of such populations engage with wilder places at all recreation is the context in which this typically happens. This chapter follows an optimistic line of argument. It proposes that when sporting engagement with wilder places is both authentic and appropriate, the quality of sporting experience is both likely to be greater and that negative environmental impacts will be reduced. Although the chapter is partly a consideration of how humans relate properly to some of the wilder places that the planet still retains, it is principally an exploration of the contention that by following an ethic of appropriate and authentic engagement in practice, human sporting experience of wilder places will also be enhanced. It should be acknowledged from the outset that this line of argument is underpinned by a strong presupposition that the wilder places of the Earth have both intrinsic qualities, and instrumental value to humans, which warrant both recognition and value in the context of respectful engagement. A further and important basis of this chapter is the contention that the human species is inextricably part of environment4 but that it is a sub-set apparently unique in its potential for both large-scale influence and, crucially to the central arguments of this chapter, the ability to engage in ethically guided practice.