Trends in wilderness use and their social and ecological implications Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/7d278w859

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  • Three studies were performed in Oregon wildernesses. The first used wilderness permit and trailhead registration data to evaluate trends in use of Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, and Eagle Cap Wildernesses from 1976 to 1994. Recreational visitor days were found to have declined, but the number of visits increased dramatically, because of large increases in the number of day users. These findings are counter to conclusions drawn in earlier research on national use trends and highlight the importance of the unit of measure to interpretation of trends. Trends implied by permit data differed from trends estimated by Forest Service personnel, and implications for Forest Service reporting are discussed. The second study compared day and overnight visitors to three high-use destinations in terms of their perception of social and ecological impacts of wilderness recreation, evaluation of impacts, and support for management actions. Overnight users were more likely to notice impacts, but predicted differences in reaction to impacts and support for management actions were not found. The only exception was that overnight users were more likely to object to management actions that would target overnight users. Results showed significant differences among study sites. The third study tested four methods of revegetating impacted campsites: scarification, importing organic material, transplanting, and transplanting with watering. These commonly used methods have not been systematically investigated previously. Six campsites in Three Sisters Wilderness were treated in 1991 and reevaluated in 1994. Importing organic material and scarification were found to improve vegetation recovery and species richness very little compared to controls, but both transplanting techniques had significant effects, often because of the presence of other species or propagules in the transplanted plugs. Watering was found to have no effect on the survival of transplanted mountain hemlock seedlings. Vegetative recovery was very slow with even the most effective treatments, which reinforces recommendations that managers adopt strategies of concentrating use.
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