Living on the edge: a process forredesigning campgrounds in grizzly bear habitat

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Landscape and Urban Planning

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The North Fork of the Shoshone Highway Corridor contains 52% of the developed recreation sites within the Shoshone National Forest. The highway is a popular access route for visitors traveling from Cody, WY to Yellowstone National Park. This river corridor is also an important habitat for a growing population of grizzly bears. The Shoshone National Forest is currently proposing a major reconstruction of recreation facilities along the highway corridor. This has presented the Forest with an excellent opportunity to recreate facilities that encourage more appropriate human behavior in grizzly habitat. This concept for campground design is a composite of many design strategies currently used internationally in bear habitat designs and information derived from current research in bear/human conflict, grizzly bear behavior and bear habitat use and habitat assessment. The application of this concept to recreational facilities in the North Fork Corridor is the product of an interagency design team of landscape architects and biologists from the US Forest Service, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service in the Greater Yellowstone Area. The design process involves identifying local grizzly bear use patterns and zoning campground components to accommodate these patterns. The most vulnerable facilities (tent pads), are located furthest from bear travel corridors and food preparation areas. Buffer zones, leave strips, trails and barriers are used to help direct bear travel around the campground. Food storage facilities, garbage facilities, cooking sites, and other attractants are consolidated. Human access into bear travel zones is structurally controlled. A major focus of the design is to emphasize the presence of the bear through the actual layout of campground facilities and to capitalize on the unique experience of camping in the grizzly bear's domain.

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