A backcountry area in general terms is a geographical region that is:
The term may apply to various regions that are reasonably close to urban areas but are:
- not immediately accessible by vehicle
- at relatively high altitude
- not generally frequented by human visitors
- limited to human-powered vehicles
Backcountry versus wilderness
While the term "backcountry" is roughly comparable to the term "wilderness", they are not necessarily equivalent. "Wilderness" implies more the condition, whereas "backcountry" implies more the position.
There is some debate about the accessibility of people by means other than human power. While wilderness is a state of mind that implies pristine and untouched landscapes, backcountry serves as areas of land explored exclusively by human power. Wilderness exists in many places, including the backcountry.
The backcountry contains many hazards including rough terrain, life-threatening weather, avalanches and wild animals. Tragic accidents and dramatic backcountry rescues of stranded hikers, climbers or skiiers are a staple of news reporting. Some jurisdictions have discussed placing limits on human access to the backcountry during times of particular danger.
- Airdale Backcountry, an American homebuilt aircraft design
- Potability of backcountry water
- Backcountry skiing
- Backcountry snowboarding
- Backcountry hut
- "More people dying in avalanches as more take to B.C.'s backcountry". Canada.com. December 30, 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
- "Stranded Backcountry Skier Is Rescued After Eight Days". The New York Times. April 26, 2005. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
- "Latest avalanche has Colorado looking at backcountry limits". The Bulletin. February 22, 1993. Retrieved July 6, 2011.