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Characterizing backcountry camping impacts in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

January 1, 1999

This investigates resource impacts on backcounty campsites in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA. Study objectives were to enhance our understanding of camping impacts and to improve campsite impact assessment procedures by means of multivariate techniques. Three-hundred and eight campsites at designated backcountry campgrounds, and 69 additional unofficial campsites were assessed. Factor analysis of 195 established campsites on eight impact indicator variables revealed three dimensions of campsite impact: area disturbance, soil and groundcover damage, and tree-related damage. Four distinctive backcountry campsite types were identified, three of which were derived from cluster analyses of factor scores. These four backcountry campsite types characterize the intensity and areal extent of resource impacts, and they vary in locational and environmental attributes. At an aggregate level, different campsite types contributed unequally to the cumulative level of impact. The dimensional structure and typology developed in this study demonstrates that campsite impacts can be viewed and examined holistically with the use of multivariate methods. Implications for assessment procedures, management and further research are discussed.

Publication Year 1999
Title Characterizing backcountry camping impacts in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Authors Y.-F. Leung, J. L. Marion
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Environmental Management
Index ID 5223941
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center