Document Type


Publication Date

January 1983


Comprehensive planning is an elusive ideal. The practical planner must sort the relevant information from the vast amounts of data that modern technology can collect. The objective of this study was to use the Upper Blackfoot watershed in the mountains of Southeastern Idaho as an arena for developing methods for construction, refinement, and application of indices needed to design land and water management schemes, compare alternatives, and influence the public in their uses of the area. A total of 21 uses were examined on 242 land units of a 160 square-mile area ranging in elevation from 6300 to 9000 feet and where the principal activities of grazing, lumbering, mining, and recreation can only be undertaken in the summer after the snow has melted. The indices considered were a reasonability index for screening out unreasonable uses at the start of the planning process, an index of use intensity for estimating an amount for reasonable uses, and an index for estimating the utility of the amount of use made from the public viewpoint. Data were collected on 42 attributes for the 343 land units and used in a linear programming model to maximize 1) economic benefits from use of the area and 2) minimize environmental disturbance. The resolution in the available use data limited the model solution to allocating uses among 18 larger land units. The primary factor limiting the modeling, however, was the lack of information for defining the interactions among the uses. The analysis provides a framework for classifying and identifying interactions beginning with the simplest case of simultaneous use by two uses in near proximity. The contribution of the study was a framework for analysis and the identification of the needs for research on the physical interactions among simultaneous uses, the perceived interactions of simultaneous users, and characterization of attributes for defining the quality of an area for a use.