Links to USDA, Forest Service, and Rocky Mountain Research Station Link to USDA Forest Service Link to U.S. Department of Agriculture Link to Rocky Mountain Research Station



Selected Projects

A Primer on Nonmarket Valuation

Discussion Papers




How to Contact Us

The Social Context of Unmanaged Recreation on National Forest Lands

Jeffrey J. Brooks and Patricia A. Champ


In a 2003 Earth Day speech, the Chief of the United States Forest Service identified “unmanaged recreation” as one of the Four Threats that jeopardize the health of the national forests, the quality of recreation experiences, and essential ecosystem functions. Unmanaged recreation presents a challenge to both researchers and managers of outdoor recreation because it is shrouded in uncertainty resulting from (a) disagreement over the definition of the problem, the strategies for resolving the problem, and the outcomes of management; and (b) incomplete knowledge about recreation visitor's values and relationships to each other and the land. We describe the unmanaged recreation issue as a “wicked problem”, and we discuss the implications of this wickedness for addressing the unmanaged recreation issue. We base our conclusions about the nature of this issue on a problem analysis that included document analysis, literature review, and interviews with key informants, both inside and outside the Forest Service. Overcoming wickedness requires a local social process that includes intensified communication and collaboration among all stakeholders with an interest in local hotspot areas of recreation conflict.

Publication currently under review

Photo by Dave Piller

Link to more Images

Upcoming Workshop:

Transportation Systems on Public Lands Workshop: Research, Collaboration, and Management Approaches

February 21-23, 2006

Hosted by USGS Fort Collins Science Center, Fort Collins, CO

For more info, please see:


To top of page  To top of page



Home | Personnel | Projects | Publications | Nonmarket Valuation | Discussion Papers | Software | Seminars | Links | Contacts

Questions or comments? Contact Webmaster

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Forest Service
Rocky Mountain Research Station