Monitoring recreation resource impacts in two coastal areas of western North America: An initial assessment

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title

World Wilderness Congress Proceedings on Research, Management, and Allocation, Vol. I, Proc. RMRS-‐‐P-‐‐4

Publication Date





Assessment and monitoring programs were initiated in two very different coastal ecosystems in Western North America: Baja California, Mexico ,and Prince William Sound, Alaska, U.S.A. Each project is an effort to assess the location, condition, and distribution of primitive campsites. By adapting established monitoring protocols to each of these environments, campsites were evaluated on the basis of condition class estimates, size of impacted area, degree of vegetation loss, and extent of soil erosion. In general, campsites at these areas represent a wide range of the impact spectrum, from relatively highly impacted to nearly pristine. In Prince William Sound, the primary campsites at 63 beaches were intensively measured and designated for permanent monitoring. Sites were most commonly located on organic soil (forest understory) or on beach gravel. Vegetation on both of these soil types was very susceptible to use, with the gravel sites (beach grasses) exhibiting a 93 percent median cover loss, and the organic soil (mixed herbs and mosses) yielding an 81 percent loss. Analyses at the Baja campsites revealed similar trends of vegetation loss and emphasized the need to utilize available resistant substrates, such as unvegetated beach gravel, for camping and recreational activities.

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