Date of Award

4-2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Dave Lemberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa DeChano-Cook

Third Advisor

Dr. James Lewis

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

In the Allegheny National Forest, an unregulated dispersed camping policy has led to significant impacts to the natural environment. This study used data gathered from visitor surveys, interviews with managers, and environmental conditions of campsites to recommend management actions for campsites along seven roads in the National Forest. The seven road areas fell into two categories. Primitive recreation was more common in some areas and solitude was more highly valued by campers. Other areas had more frequent visitor use, motorized camping, and solitude was less important to campers. These factors influenced management recommendations, which include designing and constructing campsites to minimize amount of area affected by camper activities, closing and rehabilitating campsites, and visitor education. Results from the visitors surveyed indicate that campers were less bothered by resource impacts than managers and that impact to campsites was influenced by type and frequency of visitor use. These results will aid in the development of dispersed campsite management plans for the Allegheny National Forest.

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