An Adaptive Assessment of Visitor Impacts to Protected Areas
Reid, Scott Edmonds
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As an applied approach to recreation management, adaptive management allows researchers and protected area managers to cooperatively improve management policies, and achieve the dual mandate to protect natural resources and provide high-quality recreational experiences. Through an evaluation of the efficacy of campsite and campfire management policies, this research provides land managers with an empirical assessment to aid in the adaptation and improvement of their visitor management strategies. Results from the Shenandoah National Park camping management study suggest that an established camping visitor containment strategy succeeded in reducing the areal extent of camping impacts while minimizing restrictions on visitor campsite selection options. Findings from the campfire research in seven protected areas indicate that current campfire policies have been largely ineffectual at reducing resource damage, and may exact a heavy toll in visitor experiences via campfire restrictions. The incorporation of resource and social research in this research offers a holistic approach to the evaluation of management objectives and affords protected area managers a more balanced perspective on the assessment of their policies. The conclusions reached by this integrated research will provide land managers with germane and timely information that will allow them to adapt their policies to better achieve their recreation management objectives.
- Masters Theses