Boating in Alaska's Prince William Sound : modeling and assessment of recreational use Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/n009w4316

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  • This study measures the recreational boating use in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Improved access conditions to the Sound over the last decade coupled with a statewide increase in outdoor recreation participation among both resident and out of state tourists have made the Sound a focal point for recreational boating in Alaska. The goal study is to provide baseline data for future assessment of recreational use in the Sound and evaluation of management issues. A primary objective is to determine the type of users, level of use and spatial distribution of recreational use in the Sound. Accurate information on visitor use aids management with a particular emphasis on maintaining the wilderness quality as well as providing ecological protection throughout the Sound. As such, a second objective of this study is to determine the potential interactions between recreation use and five wildlife species which aids in the mission of the recovery of the Sound from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. A large marine environment with highly dispersed recreation use, however, poses difficulties in applying conventional methods of visitor monitoring and identifying where potential conflicts may occur. This study is the first to address recreational use across the entire Sound by employing recreational modeling techniques. Survey participants provided mapped travel diaries detailing the location of their stops and the various activities in which they participated. These diaries were digitized and analyzed using GIS. A total of 2085 surveys were distributed with a 27% sample rate and 31% return rate. Results indicate that use levels are highest in the western portion of the Sound. Nearly 75% of trips reported participating in water-based activities. Rates of participation in recreational activities varied based on vessel type. Although landbased activities were reported relatively infrequently, their location and impact on the Sound are of significant interest to the Chugach National Forest. Recreation use in proximity to known wildlife sites was limited. Several areas such as Naked Island and Dutch Group, however have a high concentration of both black oystercatchers and pigeon guillemot nest sites and relatively high visitor use associated with them. Results of this study are intended to aid in the development of a framework, at an appropriate scale, to manage the future growth of recreation use in the Sound.
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