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Conservation corridors and recreation: mapping the land use in the Cascades of Washington State

Authors: Jennifer Lipton*, Central Washington University, Lee Cerveny, USDA US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, Matthew Helmer, USDA US Forest Service, David Cordner, Central Washington University, Axel Barajas, Central Washington University, Tonya Morrey, Central Washington University
Topics: Mountain Environments, Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Natural Resources
Keywords: conservation, corridors, participatory mapping, recreation, public land, mountains
Session Type: Guided Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Approximately 85 miles east of the rapidly growing Seattle-Bellevue urban metropolitan region, the eastern flank of the Northern and Southern Cascade Range of Washington State is a checkerboard landscape in transition. From the rugged mountainous Cascade crest, descending into the drier forests of the eastern rain shadow slopes, the management system is a complex patchwork of different federal, state, and local agencies, organizations and private interests. Access to public lands for outdoor recreation is only an hour and a half away to the 4 million plus population on the western side of the Cascades. Agencies are interested in developing a better understanding for recreation and use of this landscape by adopting a human ecology mapping protocol developed by co-author Lee Cerveny that integrates online and in-person participatory mapping to delineate landscapes of recreational value. From February 2019 - January 2020, surveys of over 800 individuals mapped 1200 places with information about their recreational use, season of use, number in group, and value of the place. Locations of highest density land use were identified and then integrated with imagery data from the past 20 years. Landscape analysis on land cover changes associated with types of recreation were classified to get a better perspective on how recreation and land cover change may be linked. Conservation and management strategies from corresponding agencies were also identified and put into a framework to evaluate priority zones in different use locations where recreation coincides. Results reveal the conservation and recreation corridors that are most impacted.

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