filed under: trail inventory & capacity
Evaluating Effectiveness of Visitor Use Management
Visitor use management is fundamental for maximizing benefits for visitors while
protecting resources and high-quality visitor experiences on federally managed lands
and waters. Monitoring is an essential part of managing visitor use, as it provides
feedback for managers to evaluate the effectiveness of management actions in
achieving and maintaining desired conditions. Monitoring is the process of routinely
and systematically gathering information or making observations to assess the status
of specific resource conditions and visitor experiences.
This monitoring guidebook, in combination with the “Visitor Use Management
Framework,” is intended to (1) help managers select a focused set of indicators
and establish triggers, thresholds, and objectives that are relevant, cost
effective, and tied to achieving and maintaining desired conditions; (2) develop
a monitoring strategy to routinely and systematically collect data to assess any changes in conditions over time; and (3) use the data collected to assess whether changes in management actions are needed. Indicators, triggers, thresholds, and objectives should provide useful information to inform decisions about visitor use management, and a monitoring strategy should be designed so that a consistent effort to gather information can be sustained over time. As in the framework, the sliding scale of analysis is discussed throughout this monitoring guidebook to ensure the investment of time, money, and other resources for a project is commensurate with the complexity of the project and the consequences of the decision. This guidebook expands on the framework and is intended to be adaptable to different agencies’ regulations and policies, as well as different project scales or analysis areas.
Published June 2019
Estimating visitor numbers and collecting information on visitor attitudes in Alaska national forests is especially challenging because of the dispersed access to the forests by a relatively small number of visitors.
As the summer unfolds, park and trail managers across North America are preparing for yet another recording breaking season. While it is too early to make definitive calls about the state of pandemic trail boom and future volumes on trails and in parks, early analyses suggest the boom is alive and well. During this unprecedented time, automated count data serves as a crucial tool to track changes, understand use, and make the work of trail managers just a little bit easier.
Billings has successfully implemented over 35 miles of trail in the last 15 years, causing concern over how the trails will be maintained, which departments are responsible for maintenance, and how it will be funded.