Yellowstone National Park Fire Issues Term Paper

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Yellowstone National Park Fire Issues

The objective of this work is to review the article entitled: "Mount St. Helens: A Case Study of Managing for Change in Wildland Recreation" written by Alan Ewert and published by the USDA Forest Service in Riverside, California.

Alan Ewert writes that the study of Mount St. Helens has provided a case that is interesting in terms of forest and wildland study because Mount St. Helens has undergone radical alteration in recent years. Changes in this wildland area are due to volcanic activity, which has changed the recreation environment "with respect to the setting, climbing opportunities and motivations for mountaineering." (Ewert, 1990) in fact, Ewert relates that at one time, and in fact, only recently, Mount St. Helens was a mountain environment that was beautiful and abundant in wildlife however, in 1980 Mount St. Helens erupted.

The eruption of Mount St. Helens is termed by Ewert (1990) to have been "a cataclysmic volcanic eruption that not only created the worst volcanic disaster in the recorded history of the United States..." But as well resulted in presenting quite a challenge to management of recreational activities in the backcountry.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The questions that will be addressed in this study are those as follows:

1) Does the findings reported in the work of Ewert indicate an impact on wildland recreation management decisions?

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2) How might a manager integrate this research into site management?

3) What are the recommendations for the research in terms of making the research more applicable to wildland recreation management?

PART II

LITERATURE REVIEW

Term Paper on Yellowstone National Park Fire Issues Assignment

At the time that Mount St. Helens erupted Public Law 97-243, 1982 "created the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and mandated that the USDA Forest Service provide protection of the unique features of the mountain for the purpose of interpretation, recreation and research." (Ewert, 1990) This law included requirements for development and implementation of plans for management relating to the resources at Mount St. Helens as well as relating to visitors to the site. Prior to the interruption and afterwards as well a great number of those visiting Mount St. Helens wanted to climb the mountain with a total of more than "16,000 climbing visitors expected in 1989." (Ewert, 1990) Ewert (1990) states that actions that management takes should be in alignment with the goals of the agency on all levels, which include:

1) Environmental;

2) Social; and 3) Administrative in nature. (Ewert, 1990)

Recreation area management is stated by Ewert to function under the supposition that the recreational opportunities are created by management with users response being favorable or unfavorable in nature to the opportunities that the manger presents.

Toward this end, uppermost areas of the mountain were given the classifications of: (1) primitive; and (2) semi-primitive areas. Restrictions were placed on developments that were man-made and the criteria for the number who were allowed to climb at one time were reduced. Ewert states that through limitations of the number who could climb, which was set at 100 per day, "both the natural environment and the social and psychological attributes commonly associated with mountain climbing would be preserved." (1990) the basis for the administrative lowering of the number who were issued climbing permits were those as follows:

Potential for ecological damage;

Available climbing routes;

Recreational opportunity spectrum (ROS) guidelines; and the expected number of climbers. (Ewert, 1990)

Ewert reports that the impact of new climbing regulations was monitored through use of a four-step process, which included the following four steps:

Collection of public input relating to the management plans as proposed;

Preliminary design of the management plans;

Survey of satisfaction with experience of climbers through use of mailed questionnaires and on-site surveys; and Redesigning the regulations using climber's response to inform the redesign of regulations. (Ewert, 1990)

Following several public hearings which, were similar to focus groups and that were primarily attended by those representing local climbing clubs "findings begin to emerge that some were in disagreement with the original expectations surrounding mountain climbing" at Mount St. Helens recreation area. Climbers reported the following information:

The largest percentage of climbers were not particularly focused on solitude nor were they overly concerned about crowding during climbing the mountain;

The primitive and semiprimitive classifications and corresponding… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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