Access Issues within The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Caitie Hutter Trever Waage
What is the GSENM? <ul><li>Designated in September of 1996 by President Bill Clinton under the Antiquities Act </li></ul><ul><li>Nearly 1.9 million acres of land set aside in Southern Utah </li></ul><ul><li>Divided into three zones: Escalante Canyons, Grand Staircase and Kaiparowits Plateau </li></ul><ul><li>1 st National Monument to be administered by the BLM and not the NPS </li></ul>
Management objectives <ul><li>First and foremost, the Monument remains a frontier. Safeguarding the remote and undeveloped frontier character of the Monument is essential to the protection of the scientific and historic resources as required by the Proclamation. </li></ul><ul><li>Second, the Monument provides an unparalleled opportunity for the study of scientific and historic resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Management plan found at: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/grand_staircase-escalante/planning/monument_management.html </li></ul>
Where and how much? <ul><li>The currently maintained recreational access is found within the Frontcountry Zone (4% of the total acreage) shown below. </li></ul>
Quality of Access <ul><li>Hiking opportunities are along predominantly undeveloped trails </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of signage leads to heavily braided social trails and litter near access points </li></ul><ul><li>Four visitor centers, each specializing in specific aspects of the monument, found in the gateway communities surrounding the monument (177 miles of total driving) </li></ul>
Populations served <ul><li>Visitors with backcountry experience </li></ul><ul><li>Visitors with unlimited transportation </li></ul><ul><li>Visitors without impairments to mobility </li></ul>
Who is left out? <ul><li>Little to no access for those with disabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Few points of access for those with limited time </li></ul><ul><li>Few points of access for those with limited wilderness experience </li></ul><ul><li>Few opportunities for those with limited transportation </li></ul>
Changing visitor populations <ul><li>With increased publicity there is a steep rise in visitation and the type of access that is expected </li></ul>
Visitor Trends <ul><li>Visitors are looking for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improved on-site communication and information (Cordell, et al, 1999) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visitor facilities (Cordell, et al, 1999) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Variety of recreation opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“Planning that does not recognize this variation (diversity) and aims for a mythical ‘average’ visitor will lead to homogenized experiences and result in dissatisfaction on the part of most visitors.” (Eagles & McCool 2002) </li></ul></ul></ul>
Effects of Management Mandates on Access <ul><li>4% of the monument is intended to be the focal point for visitation without expansion into any of the other management zones </li></ul><ul><li>Very little available information regarding hiking or camping outside of Frontcountry zone </li></ul><ul><li>Management plan states that sites in Outback and Primitive zones will not be promoted in literature </li></ul>
Solutions? <ul><li>Increase the quality of present front-country recreation opportunities. </li></ul><ul><li>Increase the quantity of recreation opportunities for front country users </li></ul><ul><li>Provide better information about present recreation opportunities in the monument and facilitate better understanding of the unique nature of the monument’s management. </li></ul>
Increased Quality of present access <ul><li>Interpretation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Signs at trailheads </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Better information on routes (trail guides, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Site hardening </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintain trails where use is concentrated- avoid braided social trails. </li></ul></ul>
Quantity: Increased development along major traffic routes <ul><li>Roadside interpretive areas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop wayside stops along Hwy 12 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Include short ‘viewpoint trails’ at stops </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Increase number of short hikes; half day/ day hikes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintain more easily accessible trails in the front country zone </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Define trails at heavily used sites in the passage zones along Hole in the Rock Rd. </li></ul><ul><li>Link to local community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide information on local guides, city trails, state park trails, and other venues for experiencing the area. </li></ul></ul>
Facilitate Understanding <ul><li>Increase the quality of information available to users regarding recreation opportunities within the monument </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate better understanding of the unique nature of the monument and its management. </li></ul><ul><li>Present research to visitors- understanding of reasons for restrictive access. </li></ul>
Most feasible alternative <ul><li>Combination of increasing quality of present access and increasing understanding of the unique management mandates and nature of the GSENM. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitate better quality visitor experiences through clearer information and maintained trails </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide better information regarding both the type and accessibility of current trails </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide better information about and facilitate greater understanding of the monument and its management. </li></ul></ul>
Thank You <ul><li>Questions may be directed to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul>
Notas do Editor
Increasing quality of recreation opportunities through interpretive methods to make visitors experiences more enjoyable. Things that make experiences more enjoyable include: -Providing interpretation- visitors want to know and understand what they are seeing/ experiencing Using interpretive methods the quality of recreation opportunities can be increased making visitor experiences more enjoyable. Things that make experiences more enjoyable include: -Better signage at trailheads and waysides. Creating a mental map for visitors. Studies show that visitor experience is enhanced when visitors know where they are and what opportunities are available and where. -welcome roadside information upon entering monument- give visitors better sense of where they are in relation to the monument and what rec opportunities exist. -interpretive trails/ trail guides -programs/ guided hikes -Site hardening- visitors want to know where to go- trails should be clear, not confusing or ambiguous. -maintain trails/ trail markers where routes are confusing or use is heavy and resources are being damaged. -hardened trail surfaces allow for greater accessibility for different visitor populations.
Highway 12 is the major route visitors take when passing through the monument. Many visitors will only drive through so providing roadside opportunities is important to reach these populations. -wayside stops along hwy 12 can provide interpretation to increase visitor awareness and knowledge of the area, if short walking trails were integrated with this idea, visitor could get the feeling of getting away from the highways a little bit and experiencing the vastness of the monument which is what is mandated in the plan (frontier experience) - While the management plan mandates for visitation to be focused within the frontcountry zone, it is within the management guidelines to develop trails within the passage zones -currently the only maintained trail in the monument is to lower calf creek falls and is 5 ½ miles roundtrip. Many other opportunities exist for short half and full day hikes, however they are not maintained and often are not publicized. Many visitor also may not feel comfortable in their abilities to follow a route rather than a marked trail and this can cause stress and deter visitors. -several sites along the Hole in the Rock Rd would qualify as excellent ½ and full day hikes and are already heavily used by the public. However, because they are not official trails, many social trails exist which inevitably lead to visitors getting off trail and lost. If the monument were to designate these as trails and maintain them so a clear route was established, the issue of social trails and resource degredation could be minimized as well as providing more opportunities for frontcountry users. -By linking resources with the local community the monument can increase the amount of recreation opportunities presented to the public without actually having to manage them all. The visitor center already is an interagency office with the Dixie National Forest and Glen Canyon NRA; by providing information for trails in all three public land agencies as well as the local state parks and town resources such as guides, visitors can have a greater variety of recreation opportunities to choose from. .
Passage zones through the monument: -hole in the rock road -hwy 12 -recreation is not emphasised in the passage zones but flexibility does exist within the management plan for development of recreation opportunties.
-Current information regarding trails and recreation opportunities is sparse at best. Trail descriptions are bare-boned and visitors often don’t have a sense of what is available. -create a database of recreation opportunities by type of recreation, length of trail, difficulty of trail or route-finding, equipment or skills needed, length of time needed, terrain, interesting features, is it a destination hike, loop hike, etc. -defined trails should have accurate descriptions and topo map where possible. -As Trever mentioned earlier, The visitor centers each have a separate interpretive focus. This leaves most visitors with only a brief introduction to only one facet of the monument, and it may not be the one that peaks their interest! Consider this example; Joe is really interested in the history of the Native american cultures that lived in the area so as he’s traveling through the town of Escalante he stops at the visitor center there, but the focus of this center is ecology! Even though the oldest site of habitation currently known to exist on the Colorado plateau is four miles from him, the visitor center doesn’t even touch on the subject. Archeology is interpreted at the Kanab Visitor Center, which is over 100 miles away. Soo….too bad for Joe. -More cohesiveness is needed at visitor centers- address what is present in immediate area. -Most visitors in addition to not knowing where the monument is or what it actually is, they don’t understand the management of it for research. Research projects should be showcased more, used in interpretive programs, and the results and what they mean to management more accessible to visitors.
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