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An Outdoor Recreation System

(Relate to Ranging.).

Recreation has linguistic roots in "creation", in human restoration and the implication is usually for both mental and physical change. "Recreation", said Stillman (1966:5), "... is opportunity for complementing sacrifices with indulgences, for reflecting and for restructuring, for doing these things again that have provided satisfactions before."

A resource is something used by or of value to people. There is a decided, definite human dimension to a resource. By example, coal, clearly a well-known resource, is not a resource if many miles deep in the ground and never likely to be exploited. Similarly, wildlife viewing or boating opportunities, if within a secure off-limits fence, are not resources. For evident reasons, there are many limitations to the recreational resource of the area.

To the extent possible, given changing policy, security, levels of activity, and economic conditions, the following planning concepts are developed for an outdoor recreation system as it may exist within an environmental management plan. Much environmental management has been directed at outdoor recreation. Herein, the stated landowners' objectives are primary. We suggest that certain basic, long term environmental needs be addressed, e.g., stopping erosion, protecting beaches, reducing pest damage, maintaining habitat for threatened and endangered species, and not polluting the air or water. These are the cost of citizenship and as stewards of lands). Otherwise no other environmental needs exist. To the extent that it is possible then recreational opportunities within a comprehensive, recreation system, may be created.


The objective of the outdoor recreation system is to provide abundant diverse opportunities for high-quality (success in importance-weighted activities) outdoor recreation for owners, family, and friends, staff, the community, and others. It involves maximizing the resource as well as its use (subject to safety, security, cleanliness, and health) per unit of effort and cost invested as well as environmental costs or impact.

The success is measured in both quality-weighted visits and visitor hours. A procedure for analysis will be provided upon request. (A computer program will be developed to help assess the best tactics to use).

A visitor hour is assumed to be worth 4 times more than a visit. It is evident that a manager has the difficult task of increasing quality visits and time spent for the lowest total program present-discounted costs.

A non-negative net return would be expected from the rational investor from funds and efforts devoted to such a system, whether for civilian or military personnel or the public. Public relations and health benefits from community-related recreation programs can be very large. Negative effects come from unsafe conditions, low maintenance, lack of supervision or "presence", and inadequate waste disposal. "Collecting" as a form of recreation (e.g., of wild plants), uncontrolled, can be destructive.


Local preferences for types of recreation and activities may need to be surveyed and trends noted. Preferences (changing) may be shown among:

Other highly weighted preferences are likely to include hunting and fishing.

Recreation programs on the area may be limited to select personnel except those in conducted "tours". Recreation may be considered, within limits, as in a place to:

Potential recreational activities suggested are:

Nature-lover sometimes appear to have a low tolerance for other users of areas. The same is true for hunters and anglers. Their "spot" is ruined; their quary is easily disturbed. An effort can be made to reduce such events by developing sets of relatively compatible or non-conflicting (90%) uses then to develop a matrix or PERT analysis for a 2-year plan allowing scheduling of these activities and access to them in time and in locations within the area.

There are opportunities for nature study.

Opportunities exist for the following emphases with detailed operational and action specifics to be developed as time and resources become available. One potential is for off-site enterprises to develop to support activities on and around the area, e.g., stables to support riding groups using trails; landings or a marina to support canoe and boating interests.

The options for the future include:

1. A bird-watching "course", a standard pathway through diverse habitat with users playing against their previous score or scores of others in birds seen.

2. Riding trails with loops extending off-site.

3. Continued hunting area management with special permission gained to extend the season on-site to increase harvests.

4. Nature tours for bus-loads of people brought to the «1» to learn about the diverse systems of the area, perhaps in conjunction with the new nature center. A boat-tour may be combined with the bus tour to emphasize the wetland system.

5. Viewing blinds or "hides" for observing nature at the ponds or select wildlife planting sites may enhance observation and provide relaxing, stress reducing sites.

6. Information on programs and activities may increase satisfaction with the area even though actual use may not be increased. Information on pests and problems (poison ivy, ticks, etc.) will increase the quality of the experiences. Reduction of these problems (e.g., selective plant-specific herbicide use in exercise areas along trails to reduce threat of Rhus dermatitis (from poison ivy) will increase use and quality of experiences.

7. Emphases are on dispersed use, of trails or boat-routes.

8. It may be that profit-oriented bus tours may provide superior, low-intensity, controlled, safe use of areas.

9. Winter recreation ( horse-drawn sledding; ice skating; snow boarding, etc) experiments may be conducted.

10. The creative people of the area may find that the physical conditions of the site, lunch-hour exercise needs, and potentials for off-site influences suggest the potential for a "new sport" development center. This may be local only but may one day involve spectators. The new sports, related to the environment and the above ideas may include:

  1. Nature identification or knowledge contests
  2. Rope climbing
  3. Challenge races (water and land)
  4. Person-and-horse events (deliver a message)
  5. Throwing events (distance and target accuracy spears, rocks, weights)
  6. Tug of war teams
  7. Log-lift-and-carry teams
  8. Night races
  9. Giant checkers
  10. Build a cabin - (Giant "Lincoln Logs" to construct a "box" for exercise; eventually a speed contest for some groups.)
  11. Bird house building contest. A novosport club can be created to enhance development, raise funds for experiments, and use contest funds to enhance the opportunities on the Station and allow entrepreneurial development (clothing, equipment, publications, etc.)

Some of the work, especially trail construction and maintenance, can be done by supervised wards of the court. Youth programs may allow some activities to be conducted.

All of the above suggestions need to be compatible with: Adjacent community recreation development proposals and Natural Heritage Programs.

Of course none of the above (by design) conflict with the primary mission of the area. They are means to allow the recreational potentials of the resources present to be exploited safely, without degradation, and (by design) increased.

Information is needed to improve the quality of experiences (reducing fear or frustration of violation). Flexibility seems needed. Convenient leisure time activity e.g., many of the "new sports" listed above can safely be achieved in the meal or break periods. Picnic tables (3-6) near these recreation spots can increase the positive benefits of a break.

Special opportunities exist for recreataional developments for the handicapped.

Hunting should continue under the present management system, one designed to reduce impacts on the environment, enhance safety, then improve the average quality and use of the harvested animals, thus, also the quality of the hunting experience.

See also the Deer Group under Wildlife Resources.

See Toolbox for the Great Outdoors Interactive CD

Toolbox for the Great Outdoors was developed by the American Recreation Coalition in cooperation with the federal cosponsors of Partners Outdoors XI, held in Henderson, Nevada, in January 2002. The Toolbox contains multi-media overviews of 20 creative tools and more than a billion dollars annually in potential resources which can supplement traditional appropriations to federal recreation-providing agencies.


Wellman, J. D. (1992 reprint) 1987. Wildland recreation policy: an introduction, Kreiger Pub. Co, Melbourne, FL 296 pp ($39.50)

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Last revision: October 7, 2000.