First Advisor

Barbara Brower

Term of Graduation

Summer 2005

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography






Recreation -- Oregon -- Mount Hood, Tourism -- Oregon -- Mount Hood, Historical geography, Mount Hood (Or.), Mount Hood National Forest (Or.)



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, iii, 109 pages)


Mount Hood is an Oregon icon. The mountain has as long and rich a history of recreation and tourism as almost any other place in the American West. But contemporary landscapes on Mount Hood reveal a recreation and tourism industry that has struggled to assert itself, and a distinct geographic divide is evident in the manner in which tourism has been developed. Why? In this study I chronicle the historical geography of recreation and tourism on Mount Hood. I examine the evolution of its character and pattern, and the ways in which various communities have used it to invest meaning in the places they call home. Despite the efforts of early boosters, Mount Hood has never been home to an elite destination resort like Aspen, Sun Valley, or Vail. Instead, modest recreation developed alongside timber and agriculture, and today the area is primarily a regional attraction. Unlike destinations with national and international clienteles that play a significant role in shaping lives and landscapes, local and regional interests are the primary drivers of recreation and tourism on Mount Hood. Communities on the mountain have incorporated the industry into their lives and landscapes to varying degrees. Mount Hood is also inextricably tied to Portland, and as an integral part of the city's history and identity, reflects its residents' tastes, values, and priorities. This combination of local and metropolitan interests has left an imprint on Mount Hood that reflects tensions and contradictions that define Oregon in the early twenty-first century: past vs. future, old vs. new economies, urban vs. rural inclinations, progress vs. status quo, and upscale vs. modest tastes. Spatially, temporally, and psychologically, Mount Hood straddles the divide between two visions: a service-based economy in the Willamette Valley, heavily dependent on technology, and a traditional, resource-based economy in much of the rest of the state.


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