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Social Science Field Research St Edwards State Park. Regional Context City parks County parks Regional Parks State Parks National Parks International Parks. St Edwards State Park. 316 acres 3,000 ft shore . Parks Planning - Program. Current Status
Social Science Field Research St Edwards State Park • Regional Context • City parks • County parks • Regional Parks • State Parks • National Parks • International Parks
316 acres 3,000 ft shore
Parks Planning - Program Current Status Facilities and Infrastructure Active Recreation Passive Recreation Unintended Consequences
Active Recreation Play Park Gymnasium, Swimming Pool Sports Fields baseball, soccer Bike Riding Horseback Riding
Passive Recreation Hiking/Walking Dog Walking Picnics Birding Shoreline Activity
Unintended Activities/Management Challenges Motor vehicles Vandalism Graffiti Water activities (swings) Personal security on trails Site deterioration
Invasive species Hazard Trees
Off-site Social Issues - St. Edward Adjacent property owners – using park as they see fit….cutting trails, building forts, after hours usage, dogs off leash, motorcycles on trials, bicycle BMX courses, opposition to appropriate park practices..i.e.. hazard tree removal?
Social Science Research Approach to understanding the site What do you want to know…..and who cares?
Approach to understanding the site • What do you want to know?....and who cares? • Who is using the park? • Where do they come from? • How is it being used? • What are the benefits to the users? • When does use occur? • Where does use occur? • Are there conflicts among users? • Are there unacceptable environmental impacts? • Approaches to seeking public input and consensus • on park management decisions?
Purpose of the site assessment is to provide a quality visitor experience while protecting the resource that is essential to providing the experience. • Many recreation assessment models available • Recreation Opportunity Spectrum • Visitor Impact Management • Visitor Experience and Resource Protection • Limits to Acceptable Change
Process for Visitor Impact Management (VIM) • Developed by researchers working for the U.S. National Parks andConservation Association for use by the U.S. National Park Service. • The process addresses three basic issues relating to impact: • problem conditions • potential causal factors • potential management strategies • Nilsen, Per, Grant Taylor, A Comparative Analysis of Protected Ares Planning and Management Frameworks. In Proceedings – Limits of Acceptable Change and Related Planning Processes. GTR INT-GTR-371. 1997 Biological impacts: • ground-cover density and loss of ground cover • diversity and composition of plant species • proportion of exotic plant species • plant species height, vigour and diseases • trees—mutilation, seeding regeneration, exposed roots • wildlife species—diversity, abundance, sightings • presence or absence of indicator species • reproduction success Social Impacts: • number of encounters • by activity type with other individuals/day • by size of group • with other groups/day • by mode of transport • by location of encounter • visitor perception of crowding • visitor perception of impact on the environment • visitor satisfaction • visitor complaints • visitor reports of undesirable behaviours Standards are established for each indicator based on the management objectives that specify acceptable limits or appropriate levels for the impact. Applications Best Suited for This is a flexible process parallel to LAC that can be applied in a wide variety of settings. It employs a similar methodology to assess and identify existing impacts and particularly the causes
Steps of the Process 1. Conduct pre-assessment database review. 2. Review management objectives. 3. Select key indicators. 4. Select standards for key impact indicators. 5. Compare standards and existing conditions. 6. Identify probable causes of impacts. 7. Identify management strategies. 8. Implement.
Factors, Indicators and Standards The list of possible indicators of impact includes: Physical impacts: • soil density, pH, compaction, drainage, chemistry, productivity • amount and depth of litter and dust • area of barren core and of bare ground • area of complete campsites • number and size of fire rings • number of social trails • visible erosion
Biological impacts: • soil fauna and microfauna • ground-cover density and loss of ground cover • diversity and composition of plant species • proportion of exotic plant species • plant species height, vigour and diseases • trees—mutilation, seeding regeneration, exposed roots • wildlife species—diversity, abundance, sightings • presence or absence of indicator species • reproduction success
Social Impacts: • number of encounters • by activity type with other individuals/day • by size of group • with other groups/day • by mode of transport • by location of encounter • visitor perception of crowding • visitor perception of impact on the environment • visitor satisfaction • visitor complaints • visitor reports of undesirable behaviors
Standards are established for each indicator based on the managementobjectives that specify acceptable limits or appropriate levels for theimpact.
Properties of a Restorative Experience Being Away--moving away from tired cognitive brain structures that have become fatigued through overuse. In a different mindset or place Fascination--an effortless way of attending with involuntary attention. An all consuming activity. Extent--sufficient scope to sustain interaction for a period of time without boredom. Boundaries are not evident. Compatibility--fit with a person’s inclinations and purposes Kaplan, S., 1995; 2001