Recreation and Wilderness Trends at the White Mountain National Forest
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The White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) provides a unique and important recreational opportunity and experience for visitors from around New England and beyond. Monitoring is a necessary step to assess recreation use trends, resource impacts, and visitor experience. This monitoring can inform management to better adapt to use levels, anticipate future trends and mitigate resource concerns. Goals of the monitoring are outlined in the Forest Plan and Monitoring Guide. Visitor use and Wilderness data and information from across the WMNF was brought together to assess current monitoring efforts. Within several important recreation sectors historical data was used to analyze and model trend lines. The areas of analysis included developed campground use, backcountry hut and shelter use, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and Wilderness group size and number of visitors. Overall the WMNF is keeping up with the recreation and wilderness monitoring goals set forth in the Monitoring Guide. The Forest as a whole has continued to provide a wide range of quality recreation opportunities from motorized to non-motorized to primitive. Efforts to monitor developed recreation sites including ski areas, and campgrounds as well as backcountry facilities such as huts and selected shelters have been consistent. In addition, the Forest has continued to complete Wilderness visitor use monitoring consistently over the past five years. Areas in the monitoring program that still need implementation include monitoring of rock climbing areas and shoulder season impacts of snowmobiling. Other monitoring areas that need some improvement include outfitter/guide use, use on Forest Trails, Wilderness campsite size and visitor perceived quality and crowding. These areas all have some monitoring efforts but will need to be improved in order to fulfill the objectives outlined in the Monitoring Guide.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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