Indicators and standards of quality for paddling on Lake Champlain

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Journal of Great Lakes Research

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Lake Champlain is host to a diversity of recreational and other uses that may have social and ecological impacts. Questions of how much and what type of use should be allowed in recreation areas can be addressed through carrying capacity frameworks, using indicators and standards of quality. This study focuses on indicators and standards of quality for paddling on the lake along a non-motorized kayak and canoe trail. A number of indicator variables are identified, including scenery, quiet and solitude, being on the water, presence of wildlife, motorized watercraft, shoreline development, and invasive lake vegetation.

Standards are formulated for three variables: 1) presence of sailboats and motorboats, 2) shoreline development, and 3) campsite impacts. Study findings indicate that conditions typically experienced by paddlers are nearing the minimum acceptable condition for both the number of motorboats and sailboats on the lake and the amount of shoreline development. Monitoring and management may be needed to maintain high quality paddling experiences on the lake.

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