17 Jun My project
This summer I will be conducting Visitor Use Impact Monitoring as a member of the Continental Divide Research Learning Center (CDRLC). ROMO is one of the most visited national parks; for that reason the park is always looking to improve its sustainability and resilience- that’s where the CDRLC comes in. By conducting and creating opportunities for research, the CDRLC gathers current data to educate and engage the public in resource preservation. To ensure that our park stays pristine in years to come, the work done by the CDRLC is crucial in resource preservation.
As mentioned above, I am conducting visitor use impact monitoring as a member of the CDRLC. My responsibility is to use GIS to collect visitor use impacts in Wild Basin. The three types of impacts I document are trash (represented by points), social trails (represented by lines), and congregation areas (represented by polygons). Trash ranges from litter to human waste; because of that I document the specific type of trash as well. Social trails- also know as informal trails- are any trails that are not the main one. Congregation areas are areas where people have gathered which often results in the destruction of vegetation and the exposure of roots. These three impacts are not mutually exclusive; often times social trails lead to congregation areas in the form of viewpoints. Along with this, lots of social trails also lead to human waste spots.
All these impacts have harmful effects on the environment. Often times people believe that their “one piece of litter” won’t have a negative effect on the environment, however the collection of these “individual” impacts results in large damages in the environment. To prevent further damages, I am conducting research in order to eventually implement protection strategies to ensure the integrity of our park is not compromised with increased visitors.
On a lighter note, this last weekend I went hiking up to Chasm Lake. The views were breathtaking to say the least. The Tundra is such a unique biome and being able to hike through it is truly amazing.
Thanks for reading!