Monitoring recreation impacts

Monitoring recreation impacts

This document is contained within the Visitor Use Management Toolbox on Wilderness.net. Since other related resources found in this toolbox may be of interest, you can visit this toolbox by visiting the following URL: http:// www.wilderness.net/index.cfm?fuse= toolboxes&sec=vum. All toolboxes are products of the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center. Monitoring recreation impacts How do we decide what to monitor? Focus first on monitoring problems that might lead to restrictive management LAC-type indicators if you have them Focus next on monitoring other concerns (e.g. trail damage) and use characteristics Considerations in selecting monitoring methods Amount and type of information (what questions do you need to be able to answer?) Precision and reliability (confidence in conclusions; minimum detectable change) Cost Campsite monitoring options 1. Photopoints (photographs) 2. Condition class ratings 3. Multiple parameter ratings (rapid survey) 4. Multiple parameter measures (detailed measures)

Photographs should not be the primary source of monitoring data 1979 1990 But photographs are a great supplement to quantitative data Condition class ratings (Modification of Frissell) Class 1 Class 3 Class 2 Class 4 Condition class ratings (Modification of Frissell) Condition class ratings (Modification of Frissell) Condition class ratings (Modification of Frissell) Only requires a few seconds to record Inexpensive way to answer the following questions:

- how many campsites are there? - where are campsites located? - which campsites are most highly impacted? - have the number of campsites increased or decreased? - have conditions generally improved or deteriorated? Cannot provide the following types of information: - which types of impact (e.g. tree damage or vegetation loss) are most severe or changing most - how have individual campsites changed (other than Minimum Protocol FS Chiefs Wilderness Challenge Census all campsites 1. Site Coordinates 2. Condition Class (1-8) based on: Groundcover disturbance (modified Frissell) Tree damage Disturbed area Multiple parameter estimates (Rapid survey) Impact parameters are quickly estimated rather than carefully measured For example, is camp area: 1. <500 feet2 2. 500-1000 feet2 3. > 1000 feet2 Multiple parameter estimates (Rapid survey) Parameters estimated usually include: 1.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Vegetation loss Mineral soil exposure Tree damage Tree root exposure Level of development (facilities) Level of cleanliness (trash, human waste) Social trailing Campsite area Devegetated area (barren core area) Multiple parameter estimates (Rapid survey) CAMPSITE INVENTORY IMPACT EVALUATION (19) VEGETATION COVER: (Be sure to compare similar areas, same species, slope, rockiness, and canopy cover) ON CAMPSITE 1 0-5% 2 6-25% 3 26-50%

4 51-75% ON UNUSED COMPARATIVE AREA 5 76-100% 1 0-5% 2 6-25% 3 26-50% 4 51-75% 5 76-100% (20) MINERAL SOIL EXPOSURE: 1 0-5% 3 26-50% 5 76-100% 1 0-5% 3 26-50% 5 76-100% (Percent of area that is 2 6-25% 4 51-75% 2 6-25% 4 51-75% bare mineral soil) ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Rating (Circle one category) Calculation of impact (21) VEGETATION LOSS: 1

2 3 _ index (do in office)__ (No difference (Difference one (Difference two or more in coverage) coverage class) coverage classes) (22) MINERAL SOIL INCREASE: (No difference in coverage) (Difference one coverage class) (Difference two or more coverage classes) (23) TREE DAMAGE: No. of trees scarred or felled ____ % of trees scarred or felled ____ (est.) (No more than broken lower branches) (1-8 scarred trees, or 1-3 badly scarred or felled)

( > 8 scarred trees, or > 3 badly scarred or felled) (24) ROOT EXPOSURE: No. of trees with roots exposed ____ % of trees with roots exposed ____ (est.) (None) (1-6 trees with roots exposed) ( > 6 trees with roots exposed) (25) DEVELOPMENT: (None) (1 fire ring with or without primitive log seat) ( > 1 fire ring or other major development) (26) CLEANLINESS: No. of fire scars ____

(No more than scattered charcoal from 1 fire ring) (Remnants of > 1 fire ring, some litter or manure) (Human waste, much litter or manure) (27) SOCIAL TRAILS: No. of trails___ (No more than 1 discernible trail) (2-3 discernible, max. 1 well-worn) ( > 3 discernible or more than 1 well-worn) (28) CAMP AREA: Estimated area ______ (ft2 ) ( < 500 ft2 ) ( 500 2000 ft2 ) ( > 2000 ft2 )

(29) BARREN CORE CAMP AREA: ( < 50 ft2 ) ( 50 500 ft2 ) ( > 500 ft2 ) (30) PHOTO RECORD __________________ (31) COMMENTS: (Details about location of site, impacts, management suggestions, etc. ) _______________________________________________________________________________ _____________________ _____________________________________________________________________ (32) IMPACT INDEX ________________ Multiple paramete r estimates (Rapid survey) Multiple parameter estimates (Rapid survey)

Requires 5-15 minutes per campsite In addition to the questions condition class ratings can answer, these estimates can answer the following questions: - which types of impact (e.g. tree damage or vegetation loss) are most severe - which types of impact are changing most - which type of impact are most problematic in particular places? However, this is still not a good way to get precise estimates of trends in the condition of individual campsites Multiple parameter measures Detailed measures Impact parameters (same as in the rapid survey) are measured in a repeatable manner Variable radial transect method for measuring campsite area Multiple parameter measures Detailed measures Can take 30 minutes to 2 hours per campsite But, this is the only way to get precise estimates of trends in the condition of individual campsites This is also the only way to identify short-term trends on campsites if change occurs slowly Multiple parameter measures Changes on the Main Salmon River, 1996-2002

Area (m2) Sand (%) Rock (%) Bare (%) Veget (%) Litter (%) 1996 1182 49 21 9 14 7 2002 1154 53 21 12

5 8 1996 905 53 15 3 5 3 2002 837 59 16 3 3 3 Decrease

4 0 1 2 5 2 Increased 6 1 0 2 0 2 Unchange 3 12 12 9

8 9 0.52 0.09 0.52 0.37 0.08 0.69 Mean Median # of Sites Signif. Campsite monitoring recommendations Minimum protocol - locate, photograph and assign condition classes to all campsites - repeat every five years Supplement, if possible: - multiple parameter measures on 10% of campsites

- repeat every five years Make certain your monitoring uses protocols and measurement units that allow you to conclude whether or not you have problems that must be dealt with through restrictions Monitoring trail impacts Good recent source: Marion, J.L. and Y. Leung. 2001. Trail resource impacts and an examination of alternative assessment techniques. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 19(3): 17-37 Monitoring social trails Social trail condition class: 1. Discernable trail but >20% vegetation cover 2. Less than 20% vegetation cover; <0.5m wide 3. Less than 20% vegetation cover; >0.5m wide Other impact monitoring protocols Grazing impacts Wildlife disturbance Water quality For the Bighorn Crags portion of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho We are inventorying: - all official trails - all social trails

- all campsites We are developing a simulation model of visitor use and distribution For the Bighorn Crags portion of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho We are inventorying: - all official trails - all social trails - all campsites We are developing a simulation model of visitor use and distribution For the Bighorn Crags portion of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness Salmon-Challis Forest See Inset

Goat Lake Roaring Creek Lakes 0 0.3 0.6 gh or n Cr ag s We are inventorying: - all official trails - all social trails - all campsites F Bi We are developing a simulation model of visitor use and distribution

National Baseline Scenario S Average Encounters per Trail Link 1 2 0 0.25 0.5 1 1.5 2 Miles 2.5 3 4 5 1.2 Miles See Inset For the Bighorn Crags portion of the Frank Church-River of No Return

Wilderness, Idaho 0.6 gh or n Cr ag We are inventorying: - all official trails - all social trails - all campsites F Bi We are developing a simulation model of visitor use and distribution 0.3 s 0 Baseline Scenario

S Average Encounters per Trail Link 1 2 0 0.25 0.5 1 1.5 2 Miles 2.5 3 4 5 1 See Inset For the Bighorn Crags portion of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho 0

We are inventorying: - all official trails - all social trails - all campsites 0.3 0.6 F Baseline Scenario We are developing a simulation model of visitor use and distribution Average Number of Parties that Use Location 1-4 5-8 S 9 - 13 14 - 16 17 - 35 0 0.25 0.5 1 1.5 2

Miles 2.5 36 - 48 1.2 Miles Glacier National Park Site Monitoring Program Three Types of Sites Designated Campsites Administrative Sites Undesignated Sites Designated Campsites Administrative Sites Undesignated Sites Trends for Individual Campgrounds, 1992-2004 NORTH FORK SUBDISTRICT IMPACT RATING (1995-criteria for evaluating campgrounds changed) Campground 1992 1993

1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Kintla Lake, Head 1.75 1.00 1.48 1.28 1.35 1.16

1.15 1.08 1.08 1.00 1.55 1.43 1.17 Upper Kintla Lake 1.83 1.06 1.55 1.45 1.39 1.14 1.33 1.11 1.14

1.20 1.70 1.08 1.36 Boulder Pass * 1.45 1.32 1.36 1.24 1.10 1.12 1.13 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.20 1.15 1.15

Brown Pass 1.80 1.61 1.60 1.40 1.35 1.12 1.25 1.13 1.16 1.25 1.16 1.25 1.25 Bowman Lake, Head 1.40 1.00

1.42 1.37 1.30 1.30 1.28 1.22 1.09 1.10 1.40 1.40 1.19 Quartz Lake 1.68 1.50 1.70 1.53 1.33 1.29

1.33 1.25 1.29 1.30 1.33 1.04 1.25 Lower Quartz Lake 1.72 1.06 1.62 1.37 1.28 1.28 1.23 1.14 1.25

1.17 1.75 1.60 1.14 Akokala Lake 1.25 1.00 1.26 1.20 1.16 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00

Logging Lake 1.80 1.20 1.44 1.48 1.35 1.80 1.31 1.30 1.15 1.10 1.20 1.12 1.40 Round Prairie* N/A N/A

N/A 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 Adair 1.50 1.02 1.57 1.40 1.17 1.10

1.00 1.11 1.14 1.10 1.00 1.14 1.14 Grace Lake 1.40 1.14 1.33 1.30 1.16 1.16 1.10 1.08 1.12

1.12 1.12 1.12 1.08 Overall Trends on Designated Campgrounds, 1992-2004 Backcountry Campground Impact Ratings 1992-2004 60 Number of Campgrounds 50 40 Impact Rating-Good 30 Impact Rating-Fair Imapct Rating-Poor 20 10 0 1992 1993 1994

1995 1996 1997 1998 Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Overall Trends in Facility Ratings, 1992-2004 Backcountry Campground Facility Ratings 1992-2004 N u m b e r o f C a m p g ro u n d s 70 60 50 Facility Rating-Good

40 Faciltiy Rating-Fair Facility Rating-Poor 30 20 10 0 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 Year 1999 2000 2001 2002

2003 2004 Trend data are used to identify needs for management and/or restoration Trend data are used to identify needs for management and/or restoration Rating Legend Good Fair Poor Impact Rating 1.0-1.5 1.51-2.2 2.21-3.0 Faciltiy Rating with *no hitchrail 24-33 33.1-53 53.1-91

Facility Rating with Hitchrail 27-36 36.1-56 56.1-100 UNDESIGNATED CAMPSITES - TWO MEDICINE SUBDISTRICT LOCATION UTM'S SITE CONDITIONS Lonely Lakes Basin 8/02,8/04 323.5 E 5378.9 N No evidence of human impacts found. No food hanging trees. Aurice Lake area 9/02 316.9 E 5368.1 N No evidence of human impacts found. No food hanging trees. Pristine area.

Razeredge Mtn and Triple Divide Mtn 8/01 314.6 E 5382.3 N No impacts from humans found. One area of matted grass from a recent camp. No food hanging trees. Saddle between Triple Divide and Razor Edge 1995 314.6 E 5382. 2 N No impacts. matted down. North side of Tinkham Mtn 8/02 316.8 E 5377.5 N No evidence found of any campsites after searching area all day. Katoya Lake 1996

319.3 E 5377.7 N Fire rings x2, 30 ft to water, no recent impacts. Red Eagle Meadows 1995 307.0 E 5384.0 N No impacts found. potential. Lena Lake 2003 327.2 E 5363.8 N No new impacts. Very old fire ring 72 sq.ft. of vegetation Great site ADMINISTRATIVE CAMPSITES - TWO MEDICINE SUBDISTRICT Cobalt Lake Trail Crew Spike Camp 9/03 321.7 E 5368.9 N

2004 Morning Star Trail Crew Spike Camp 1992 2004 Overall impact rating of GOOD. Area in good shape; food pole present, but no pit toilet. Food pole and toilet present. 331sq.ft of vegetation loss with 252 sq.ft of barren core. 319.4 E 5382.4 N Trail access site, 165 ft. from water, fire ring present, food pole present, impacted area = 3000 sq. ft., no barren core, litter present, 4 social trails. @ human waste pits used and filled in by Trail Crew (20 days in 1992) Low rider in place. Two social trails place well defined trail coming in. Food prep area shows 264 sq.ft of bare ground and 410 sq.ft impacted veg. Hanging pole area is 57 sq.ft and 107 sq.ft.

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