Modeling Large-Scale Winter Recreation Terrain Selection with Implications for Recreation Management and Wildlife

Winter recreation is a rapidly growing activity, and advances in technology make it possible for increasing numbers of people to access remote backcountry terrain. Increased winter recreation may lead to more frequent conflict between recreationists, as well as greater potential disturbance to wildlife.

The sharp increase in the extent and popularity of winter recreation presents a challenge to land managers responsible for multiple-use lands with associated concern as to its impact on wildlife and the environment. Thus, managers face multiple challenges of reducing impacts to the environment and wildlife while also minimizing interpersonal conflict and still providing winter recreation opportunities.

One way in which the likelihood of interpersonal conflict may be minimized is to reduce the time that motorized and nonmotorized users are funneled into a single shared-use access area or travel corridor since our results show that the conditions that motorized and non-motorized users select are fairly distinct, and thus recreationists may self-select areas that reduce co-occurrence between the two types. Alternatively, if active zoning is required to separate users to reduce conflict or for safety, the conditions that each recreation type favors should be considered.

Our results underscore the importance of road and road-access management in affecting the spatial footprint of winter recreation. Decisions about the placement or density of roads need careful assessment as they can influence the movements of winter recreationists relative to wildlife or each other. Management practices that lower tree density and increase forest patchiness will also influence motorized and non-motorized recreation at fine spatial scales.

Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://
creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Attached document published June 2017

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