Project Managers' Survey Results and Discussion Banner

Current and Emerging Recreation Management Issues

    Managers submitted 525 open-ended responses that identified the major unresolved management challenges associated with their project's recreation program (Question 57). They also provided 446 open-ended responses that identified emerging management challenges they expected to confront within the next 10 years (Question 58).

    Summary of Natural Resources Management Issues of Concern to Corps of Engineers Project Managers. The five most often reported responses are highlighted in yellow.
    Response Category Number of Managers Reporting
    A Present Concern An Emerging Concern Within 10 Years Total Pct of Responses (Total / 220)
    Facilities and Use of Facilities
    Condition and Adequacy of Facilities 105 31 136 62%
    Visitation / Carrying Capacity 33 42 75 34%
    Specific Facility Needs 27 10 37 17%
    Condition of Roads 17 4 21 10%
    Lewis and Clark Bicentennial 1 5 6 3%
    Delivery of Recreation Services
    Funding Issues 62 20 82 38%
    Staffing Issues 51 22 73 33%
    Visitor Issues
    Changing Customers or Customer Needs 18 21 39 18%
    User-Group Conflicts 21 11 32 15%
    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Issues 15 7 22 10%
    Visitor / Ranger Safety 15 7 22 10%
    National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) 6 1 7 3%
    Customer Service 1 6 7 3%
    Environmental Issues
    Other Environmental Issues 11 18 29 13%
    Urban / Boundary Development 6 13 19 9%
    Water Allocation, Supply, or Management 6 11 17 8%
    Water Quality 4 9 13 6%
    Miscellaneous Comments 67 55 122 55%

    Managers identified a range of management issues of concern on their projects. When taken together, 17 different major themes were apparent among the responses. Overall, the most frequent responses noted concerns about the deteriorating condition and aging of recreation facilities (62 percent), the declining ability of project managers to deliver quality recreation services to the public because of decreasing funding (38 percent) and adverse staffing trends (33 percent), and increasing visitation relative to facility capacity and social and natural resource carrying capacity (34 percent).

    Furthermore, approximately 18 percent of managers noted ongoing or anticipated changes in the makeup of their visitors. Many of these responses noted the changing ethnic makeup or the increasing average age of project visitors. Current recreation literature identifies these same two factors, changing ethnicity and aging population, as the major forces influencing current trends in outdoor recreation participation and activities.

    Of the 220 respondents, 60 identified one or more environmental concerns adversely affecting recreation or recreation management programs. Concerns regarding development and land use changes along project boundaries (9 percent), availability or management of water (8 percent), and water quality (6 percent) were the most frequently cited environmental trends adversely affecting recreation.

    Managers saw most of their current concerns continuing to be major issues in the next 10 years. Only two major areas of concern, those involving environmental and carrying capacity issues, were presently a concern on a small percentage of projects but were expected to emerge as concerns on many more projects within the next 10 years. Environmental concerns primarily reflect managers' growing concerns over environmental stressors that originate outside of Corps project boundaries. Carrying capacity concerns anticipate that increasing visitation levels will approach or exceed natural limits on recreation space, available recreation facilities, and in some cases, the ability of ecological resources to support higher recreation demand without harming those resources.


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Updated: April 11, 2003