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... a damp dreary place where all manner of wild beasts dash about uncooked. Anonymous, 19th Century Wilderness is... Jeff Marion, Unit Leader Virginia.

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Presentation on theme: "... a damp dreary place where all manner of wild beasts dash about uncooked. Anonymous, 19th Century Wilderness is... Jeff Marion, Unit Leader Virginia."— Presentation transcript:

1 ... a damp dreary place where all manner of wild beasts dash about uncooked. Anonymous, 19th Century Wilderness is... Jeff Marion, Unit Leader Virginia Tech Field Unit Patuxent WL Res Center

2 Managing Visitor Use Impacts

3 Presentation Objectives 1. Describe trail management strategies, including: Trail system assessments Trail design strategies Construct resistant trails Maintain trails to reduce impacts Manage visitors to reduce impacts 2. Describe campsite management strategies, including: Select resistant sites Construct resistant sites Provide facilities that reduce impacts Maintain sites to contain impacts Manage visitors to reduce impacts 2.Review alternative camping management strategies.

4 If recreation visitation is permitted …

5 ... some degree of resource impact is inevitable.

6 Prevent avoidable resource and social impacts Minimize unavoidable impacts Preserve the quality of resources and recreation experiences The Wilderness Management Challenge

7 Trail System Assessment Existing Inventory of Trails: Evaluate the suitability of what you have in light of trail system objectives. Are all the trails in the inventory needed? Do they follow the most resistant alignments, are relocations needed? Are any new segments needed to fulfill administrative or recreation purposes? Are the desired types of uses suitable and sustainable?

8 Trail Design Strategies Select resistant alignments – most important factor (trail alignment relative to topography and trail grade) Design in rolling grade dips Construct resistant trails (apply the most sustainable construction practices)

9 Trail Alignment Angle to the Prevailing Slope Resistant Alignments Low Alignment angle Direct-ascent or fall-line alignment High Alignment angle Side-hill alignment

10 Non-Sidehill TrailsSidehill-Constructed Trails Post-construction surface outsloped 3-5% Original land surface Post-construction surface Original land surface Berm develops over time

11 Trail Profiles with Different Topographic Positions and Trail Alignment Angles Trail Profiles Upper Slope Mid-slope Lower Slope

12 Trail Grade RemarksDrainage Spacing 0-2Avoid – difficult to drainNot possible 3-6%Ideal for general uses500 ft 7-10%OK in places if maintained300 ft 11-15% OK for short segments if well- maintained or in rocky soils 100 >15%Avoid unless steps are constructed<50 Horse & Motorized Use Trails – Grades should not exceed 10% due to their higher potential for erosion. Gravel is also recommended unless soils are rocky.

13 Big South Fork Some Research Results: Grade vs. Alignment Angle

14 Tread design Construct Resistant Trails Rolling Grade Dip Rolling grade dips or grade- reversal features should be designed into ALL new trails. They can be added to existing trail alignments but require substantial work. Advantages: Sustainable drainage w/no maintenance More effective than water bars, drainage dips, or out-sloping over the long term

15 Rocks to Slow erosion Gravel Relocations vs. Maintenance Nightmare Maintain Trails to Reduce Impacts Steep grade and low alignment angle

16 Maintenance Features: Stream Crossing Impacts Maintain Trails to Reduce Impacts Remove water from treads well before stream crossings Outsloped treads are better than water bars: sheet flow vs. concentrated flow Armor steeper embankments with rock or gravel

17 Tread Drainage Maintain Trails to Reduce Impacts Water bars Outsloped tread

18 Manage Visitors to Reduce Impacts Educate Visitors Regulate Visitors

19 Visitor Regulations Regulate the Type, Amount, & Behavior of Visitation

20 Visitor Education Leave No Trace: Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces Visitor Education Leave No Trace: Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces Stay on formal trails when possible, walk single file in the center of the tread. Dont create new trails.

21 Campsite Design & Management Strategies Select resistant sites Construct resistant sites Provide facilities that reduce impacts Maintain sites to contain impacts Manage visitors to reduce impacts Select resistant sites Construct resistant sites Provide facilities that reduce impacts Maintain sites to contain impacts Manage visitors to reduce impacts

22 Select Resistant Sites Organic litter Rock Sand/gravel Grasses

23 Select Resistant Sites Select campsites that resist expansion due to: Topography Dense Vegetation Rockiness

24 Construct Resistant Sites Create raised tent pads Use site engineering to contain site expansion in high use problem areas: Place fill in rocky terrain Cut and fill work on slopes

25 Campsite Construction – Flat Terrain Campsite SignpostIce-berg Rocks

26 Campsite Construction – Sloping Terrain Are these practices appropriate in Wilderness? Only in certain zones? Are they the minimum tool when other actions fail to resolve problems of site proliferation or expansion?

27 Provide Facilities That Reduce Impacts Campfire Rings Toilets Shelters

28 Maintain Sites To Contain Impacts Improve Tent Pad Sites Reinforce Eroding Spots Restore Unnecessary Areas

29 Manage Visitors to Reduce Impacts Promote Leave No Trace Practices Establish Regulations

30 Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics The Center partners with federal land agencies, outdoor product manufacturers, retailers, outfitters, user groups. A non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships. Bureau of Land Management U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service National Park Service U.S. Forest Service

31 Promote Leave No Trace Practices Avoid Campfires - Use Stoves Use Durable Surfaces

32 Promote Leave No Trace Practices Use Established Sites in High-Use Areas Concentrate activities within disturbed areas Concentrate activities within disturbed areas Use Pristine Sites in Remote Areas Disperse activities Avoid permanent disturbance

33 Establish Regulations Prohibit Axes, Saws, or Campfires Designate Campsites Require Permits or Reservations

34 Camping Management Strategies Area Closure to Camping At-Large (Unregulated) Camping Dispersed Camping Established/Designated Site Camping (Containment) Four Standard Strategies:

35 Rationale for Dispersal & Containment Strategies Rationale for Dispersal & Containment Strategies Use/Impact Relationship 45 sites, each w/1 night/yr. Dispersal Containment b 45 1 campsite 45 nights/yr Close 2 campsites Impact is minimized by closing two campsites and tripling use on the third. Impact increases on third site from a to b but aggregate impact is reduced from (3 x a) to (1 x b) a 3 campsites each w/15 nights/yr.. Unregulated Camping Nights/Year (#) Total Change (%)

36 Closures Cultural sites Sensitive wildlife habitats R,T&E species

37 Camping Management Strategies Camping Management Strategies At-Large (Unregulated) Camping Camping is unregulated: visitors may camp in any location they choose. Advantages: Maximizes visitor freedom in site selection. Disadvantages: Jeopardizes visitor solitude and resource protection at higher use levels.

38 At-Large (Unregulated) Camping Problems: Poor site selection Social - too close to other sites Resource - fragile rather than resistant Campsite expansion Campsite proliferation

39 Camping Management Strategies Camping Management Strategies Dispersed Camping Visitors are instructed to camp on the most resistant surfaces available that show no obvious signs of previous camping use. Dispersal from popular areas may also be promoted to reduce problems with crowding or conflicts. Point DispersalLineal Dispersal Total Dispersal

40 Camping Management Strategies Camping Management Strategies Dispersed Camping Advantages: Provides greater visitor freedom in site selection and promotes solitude. When successful, avoids impact by dispersing use to a level that prevents formation of permanent campsites. Disadvantages: Visitors tend to resist dispersing very far. Considerable off-trail searching may be necessary to locate an appropriate site. Selecting, using, and renaturalizing a pristine site requires greater knowledge and effort.

41 Camping Management Strategies Camping Management Strategies Dispersed Camping Why Resource Dispersal Is Often Ineffective: Park Environment - Limited flat land or resistant surfaces. Park Management - Restrictions on camping close to trails or water resources may prevent use of the most available flat land. Visitors not instructed to use only pristine sites or Leave No Trace camping practices. Insufficient visitor education. Park Visitors - Visitors may not want to disperse far from trails, water, or other groups. Visitors may lack or fail to apply LNT knowledge.

42 Camping Management Strategies Camping Management Strategies Camping Containment Visitors are encouraged or required to camp on existing sites or within designated areas. Sites or areas may be selected for their environmental resistance and/or to promote visitor solitude. Existing Sites Designated Areas

43 Camping Containment Problems: Loss of visitor freedom Availability of open campsites Problems: Loss of visitor freedom Availability of open campsites

44 Camping Management Strategies Camping Management Strategies Camping Containment Options: Established Sites - Visitors are required to use existing established campsites. Managers close and rehabilitate sites that fail to meet minimum criteria for environmental resistance and/or distance to trails, water, other sites, etc. Advantages: Retains some visitor freedom in site selection and ensures solitude. Minimizes area of disturbance and aggregate impact more than an at-large camping strategy. Disadvantages: Permits more sites and greater impact than under designated site camping. Visitors may create new sites or camp on closed sites.

45 Camping Management Strategies Camping Management Strategies Camping Containment Options: Designated Sites - Visitors are required to use only designated campsites. The minimum number of sites needed for a specified level of overnight visitation are selected, based on their environmental resistance and solitude potential. Sites that fail to meet criteria or are unnecessary are closed to use. Advantages: Minimizes resource impacts while maximizing visitor solitude. Disadvantages: Restricts freedom in campsite selection, sites will become highly altered.

46 Camping Management Strategies Camping Management Strategies Multi-Strategy Examples Shenandoah National Park (New) Dispersal and closure within designated areas Designated campsites Existing campsites

47 Camping Management Strategies Camping Management Strategies A Comparison

48 The End The End Carrying Capacity: The Art of Avoiding Undesirable Future Conditions


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