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You are here: NRS Home / Research Programs / Sustaining Forests / Conserve and Enhance Forest Resources / Recreation and Experience of Natural Places
Sustaining Forests

Conserve and Enhance Recreation and Experience of Natural Places

The Northeast and Midwest contain many densely populated regions, and the growing demand for outdoor recreation creates challenges for both public and private lands. Understanding what recreationists really want and expect from their experiences is important for planners for parks and forests. For example, do they want hiking trails into pristine wilderness or ATV facilities, wildlife viewing stations, scenic overlooks, or facilities for the handicapped? NRS scientists develop the tools and information to help recreation managers understand and meet those expectations.

Research Studies

[photo:] Off-highway vehicle riders.Public Recreational Access on Family Forest Lands
Access to rural private lands has been promoted as one means of alleviating recreational pressure on public lands, and a variety of government-sponsored incentive programs have been created to promote public recreational access on private lands. However, concern is growing about the availability of private rural lands for recreational access due to land development trends and pressures and an increase in the number of landowners restricting access on their lands. 


[photo:] Off-highway vehicle riders.Private Landowner Attitudes toward Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Access in Minnesota
This research examined the willingness of private forest landowners to provide OHV access on their lands.


Photo: A story cloth is a traditional Hmong method to depict their historyTalking with Hmong Americans about Their Culture and Use of Public Lands
This research on Hmong Americans, one of the least-studied and least-understood Asian ethnic groups in the United States, received the 2009 U.S. Forest Service Chief’s Honor Award for Promoting Recreation.


Photo - Logo for NED software for forest managersTools to improve site design
In planning for a national forest or for a neighborhood lot, providing for the wide-ranging recreational needs of people is complex. Site users come from different age groups and different racial and ethnic groups and from varied income levels. To help designers, planners, and managers serve diverse patrons most effectively, NRS researchers study people’s perceptions of and preferences for recreational areas, as well as how people value the use of these areas. Among our products are computer programs based on recreational choices that help planners and managers make the most informed decisions concerning site design.


[photo:] A bicyclist in Chicago's Lincoln Park.What Attracts and Repels Visitors to Urban Recreation and Environmental Education Sites?
We worked with Purdue University and the City of Chicago Department of Environment to find out what will influence people's decisions to visit or not visit the FCEC. We asked 411 Chicago-area residents about their recreation interests, their past visitation at some of the larger and more well-known recreation sites in Chicago, and what factors would cause them to recommend that friends visit or avoid specific sites.


Last Modified: 05/13/2013