Application of airborne LiDAR and GIS in modeling trail erosion along the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire, USA

dc.contributor.authorEagleston, Holly A.en
dc.contributor.authorMarion, Jeffrey L.en
dc.contributor.departmentUSGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Centeren
dc.coverage.stateNew Hampshireen
dc.description.abstractRecreational activities can negatively affect protected area landscapes and resources and soil erosion is frequently cited as the most significant long-term impact to recreational trails. This study applied extensive multiple regression modeling of trail soil loss to identify influential factors that managers can manipulate to improve the sustainability of trail design and management. Field measurements assessed soil loss as the mean vertical depth along 135 trail transects across the Appalachian Trail sampled along three 5 km trail segments in New Hampshire's White Mountains National Forest, chosen due to its exceptionally high use and impact. GIS and LiDAR data were used to create many new variables reflecting terrain characteristics that were expected to influence trail erosion and improve predictive models of trail system soil loss. A variety of terrain and hydrology characteristics were applied to model trail soil loss at three spatial scales: transect, trail corridor, and watershed. The model for each spatial scale and a combined model are presented. The adjusted R-2 explaining variation in soil loss is 0.57 using variables from all spatial scales, improving on predictive modeling from earlier studies. Environmental and trail design factors such as slope and watershed flow length were found to be significantly correlated to soil loss and have implications for improved sustainable trail design and management.en
dc.description.adminPublic domain – authored by a U.S. government employeeen
dc.description.notesWe thank Chris Carr and Jeremy Wimpey for collaboration and assistance in sampling, protocol development, and fieldwork, and Brian Peterson, Dylan Spencer, Kaitlin Burroughs, Mary-Ellen Burnette, and Mitch Rosen for their dedicated assistance collecting field data. This study was funded by the US National Park Service, with guidance, collaboration, and contracting support provided by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US Government.en
dc.description.sponsorshipUS National Park Serviceen
dc.description.versionPublished versionen
dc.rightsPublic Domainen
dc.subjectTrail erosionen
dc.subjectSoil lossen
dc.subjectRecreation managementen
dc.subjectSustainable trail designen
dc.subjectAppalachian Trailen
dc.titleApplication of airborne LiDAR and GIS in modeling trail erosion along the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire, USAen
dc.title.serialLandscape and Urban Planningen
dc.typeArticle - Refereeden
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