Sustaining Recreation Resources on the Southern Appalachian National Forests


  • Peter A. Morton


appropriations, budgets, FORPLAN, national forests, planning, recreation user fees, Southern Appalachians


The Southern Appalachian national forests represent a significant recreation resource for residents of the eastern United States. The future of the resource is in question as recreation demand has increased without planned expansion or maintenance of the recreation infrastructure. Failure to acknowledge budget constraints in forest planning is a contributing factor as appropriations have consistently been less than the costs of implementing forest plans. Eliminating the backlog of trail and facilities maintenance should be a goal for planners revising forest management plans, and a concern to community leaders as national forest recreation areas produce psychological, social and environmental benefits for society as a whole, generate 30,000 jobs for the regional economy, and provide local communities with a comparative advantage in attracting amenity-based retirees and non-recreation businesses to diversity and stabilize the economic base. Policy options for addressing the fiscal and management concerns include: l) budget constraints in forest planning; 2) shifting Congressional appropriations; and 3) recreation user fees.





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