Camping in clearcuts: the impacts of timber harvesting on USFS campground utilization

Wallace, Kelly, author
Suter, Jordan, advisor
Bayham, Jude, committee member
McCollum, Dan, committee member
Tulanowski, Elizabeth, committee member
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The United States Forest Service (USFS) governs its lands under multiple-use management, where land is managed for more than one purpose or objective to achieve the greatest possible combination of public benefits. Some objectives are compatible, while others are not (Clawson, 1974; Rose and Chapman, 2003; USFS, 2021c). This research seeks to inform the site location of future timber harvests relative to existing campgrounds by analyzing how past and current harvests near campgrounds have influenced campground utilization. Beyond this, the research also informs the expected impacts of timber harvesting and recreation on local economies. Previous economic research related to timber harvesting's impact on nearby recreation has been carried out at a smaller spatial scale or outside the U.S., and none have focused on campgrounds specifically (Eggers et al., 2018; Harshaw and Sheppard, 2013). Past studies find that intensive forest management changes the degree of naturalness of a forest and generally negatively impacts recreation. The research we conduct builds on these studies to apply a temporally and spatially explicit model to analyze harvesting's impact on campground utilization on USFS land across the Western U.S. We find that timber harvests significantly decrease reservations during the year of harvest. Furthermore, the selection method of harvest has the most negative impact, likely due to being the most common harvesting method both overall and near campgrounds. There are regional differences in campground demand during harvesting. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that campground reservations continue to be impacted one year after a harvest takes place. The loss in campground utilization from the reduction in reservations during harvest years can be expected to have negative impacts on nearby tourism-dependent economies.
Includes bibliographical references.
2022 Fall.
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