filed under: wildlife and environment
A recreation ecology literature review
Metro is the regional government in the Portland, Oregon area. Thanks to the region’s voters, the agency has acquired approximately 17,000 acres of natural areas to protect water quality, wildlife habitat and connect people with nature. The goal of this document is to better understand the trade-offs between different types and levels of recreational access in the context of our work to protect habitat and water quality, and provide access to nature in a growing urban area. Only by thoroughly understanding the effects of recreational activities on wildlife and water quality are we able to avoid, minimize and mitigate potential harm to the resources we are committed to protecting.
Recreation ecology is the scientific study of environmental impacts resulting from recreational activity in protected natural areas. The nature of a literature review is to summarize what has been studied, what has been learned, and what the experts have concluded. This document reviews the literature on overall and relative effects of three user groups – hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians – on trails, habitat, and wildlife to help inform ecologically appropriate placement and construction of trails in natural areas. Studies are reviewed from the U.S. and elsewhere, with a focus on soft-surface trails in natural areas. We included limited information about other nonmotorized trail user groups such as trail runners and beach walkers. Motorized off-road vehicles were omitted from this review because they are generally not allowed on natural area trails within the urban and near-urban region. A previous literature review on the effects of dogs on wildlife and water quality is included as Appendix 1.
Published September 2017
Proper management of off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails is one of the most important tasks for trail managers today.
A Synthesis of Research Findings, Management Practices, and Research Needs
Horses have been suggested to be an important source for the introduction of non-native plant species along trails, but the conclusions were based on anecdotal evidence.