A Comparative Study of Impacts to Mountain Bike Trails in Five Common Ecological Regions of the Southwestern U.S.
Keywords:Recreation ecology, recreation impacts, ecological impacts, impact assessment, trail management
A rapid increase in mountain biking participation over the past thirty years has led to concerns about ecological impacts to recreation environments, especially trails. It is widely accepted that recreational use of natural areas inevitably results in some degree of change to resource conditions, and managers must consider the social acceptability and ecological significance of such changes in their decision making. The ecological impacts of mountain biking, however, and relationships between impacts and trail features remain poorly understood.
This study uses Common Ecological Regions (CERs) as a mapped ecological framework to guide comparative analysis of differences in maximum trail incision and trail width at varying slope levels for mountain bike trails in five CERs in the southwest U.S. A point-measurement trail assessment procedure was utilized to measure maximum incision and width for 163.2 miles of mountain bike trails. Results show a significant effect of CER on trail width and maximum incision and a significant effect of trail slope on maximum trail incision. Maximum trail width and incision were greatest in the Arizona/New Mexico Mountains region, perhaps due to environmental features such as erodable soils and sparse trailside vegetation, higher use, and/or user behavior. Maximum incision increased consistently with slope for three of five CERs.
Relative to other trail impact research, the sites assessed in this study were in similar condition to other trails on the specific parameters measured. The findings from this study reinforce results from previous research that certain impacts to mountain bike trails, especially width, are comparable or less than hiking or multiple-use trails, and significantly less than impacts to equestrian or off-highway vehicle trails.
Sagamore Publishing LLC (hereinafter the “Copyright Owner”)
Journal Publishing Copyright Agreement for Authors
PLEASE REVIEW OUR POLICIES AND THE PUBLISHING AGREEMENT, AND INDICATE YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF THE TERMS BY CHECKING THE ‘AGREE TO THE TERMS OF THIS COPYRIGHT NOTICE’ CHECKBOX BELOW.
I understand that by submitting an article to Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, I am granting the copyright to the article submitted for consideration for publication in Journal of Park and Recreation Administration to the Copyright Owner. If after consideration of the Editor of the Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, the article is not accepted for publication, all copyright covered under this agreement will be automatically returned to the Author(s).
THE PUBLISHING AGREEMENT
Assignment of Copyright
I hereby assign to the Copyright Owner the copyright in the manuscript I am submitting in this online procedure and any tables, illustrations or other material submitted for publication as part of the manuscript in all forms and media (whether now known or later developed), throughout the world, in all languages, for the full term of copyright, effective when the article is accepted for publication.
Reversion of Rights
Articles may sometimes be accepted for publication but later be rejected in the publication process, even in some cases after public posting in “Articles in Press” form, in which case all rights will revert to the Author.
Retention of Rights for Scholarly Purposes
I understand that I retain or am hereby granted the Retained Rights. The Retained Rights include the right to use the Preprint, Accepted Manuscript, and the Published Journal Article for Personal Use and Internal Institutional Use.
All journal material is under a 12 month embargo. Authors who would like to have their articles available as open access should contact Sagamore-Venture for further information.
In the case of the Accepted Manuscript and the Published Journal Article, the Retained Rights exclude Commercial Use, other than use by the author in a subsequent compilation of the author’s works or to extend the Article to book length form or re-use by the author of portions or excerpts in other works.
Published Journal Article: the author may share a link to the formal publication through the relevant DOI.
- The Article I have submitted to the journal for review is original, has been written by the stated author(s) and has not been published elsewhere.
- The Article was not submitted for review to another journal while under review by this journal and will not be submitted to any other journal.
- The Article contains no libelous or other unlawful statements and does not contain any materials that violate any personal or proprietary rights of any other person or entity.
- I have obtained written permission from copyright owners for any excerpts from copyrighted works that are included and have credited the sources in the Article.
- If the Article was prepared jointly with other authors, I have informed the co-author(s) of the terms of this Journal Publishing Agreement and that I am signing on their behalf as their agent, and I am authorized to do so.