Carrying Capacity as a Framework for Managing Whitewater Use
Keywords:Carrying capacity, whitewater use, recreation resource policy.
AbstractWith increasing numbers of people using whitewater recreation resources, public land management agencies are called upon to set capacity limits. Currently, as a guide in decision making, such limits are often defined within a carrying capacity framework. By placing use limits within this framework, the implicit assumption that recreation resources can sustain specifiable levels of use has the appearance of being justified.Initial efforts to determine a carrying capacity for whitewater resources in West Virginia are reviewed. The impetus for establishing riverine use limits in the state is related to the increasing demand for whitewater resources and recent legislative directives. Descriptive carrying capacity information concerning whitewater use is summarized and the utility of this information for the State's Department of Natural Resources is examined. Working from the Cheat River experience, suggestions are made for public land management agencies which contact carrying capacity research.
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