Wilderness perception studies provide valuable insights on the relationship between recreational or cultural experiences and natural settings. Although this approach has been little used in the management and planning of protected areas, it has potential to investigate and inform land use policy and planning that achieves a better fit among multiple user or stakeholder groups and the natural landscape. We applied the wilderness perception mapping methodology to the Adirondack Park, a six-million acre protected area in New York State (USA) that consists of mixed private and public land use classifications designed to promote wilderness character while maintaining a permanent residential population. Using a regional survey coupled with a GIS, we created spatial models of the areas perceived as wilderness by three Adirondack Park stakeholder groups in four communities: permanent residents, seasonal residents and visitors. Wilderness perception maps were then compared with current land use classifications in a spatial overlay. Roughly half of the area perceived as 'strong purist' wilderness (i.e., the most restrictive definition) overlapped with classified Wilderness lands. The remaining areas were mostly private lands managed as working forests, many under state-owned conservation easements -- indicating their potential value for wilderness recreation and amenities. Stakeholder groups differed little in the total area perceived as wilderness, but map overlays identified local patterns of agreement and disparity useful for land planning and conflict management. With further development, wilderness perception models can support an integrative approach to protected area management by considering user perceptions while also meeting legal protection mandates. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.