Recreation Opportunity Spectrum for River Management v

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1 Recreation Opportunity Spectrum for Management v Introduction The following Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) characterizations and matrices mirror the presentation in the ROS Primer and Field Guide (April 1990, R6-REC ), which, in turn, is based on the 1982 ROS Users Guide and 1986 ROS book. It is also referenced in, and consistent with, the December 2003 National ROS Mapping Protocol. ROS for Management provides guidelines for using the ROS in the development of forest plan direction for river areas, including designated wild and scenic rivers. This paper may be used as inventory guidelines for determining existing conditions in forest plan revision and may also be used to subdivide existing ROS classes during the development of a wild and scenic river management plan prepared during forest plan revision or through amendment of an existing forest plan. ROS for Management provides management guidelines for each river-management ROS class. These classes may be used as opportunity areas under an analysis process such as Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC). LAC also provides an excellent tool for determining problem statements and detailed setting indicators, goals and objectives. In a river setting it may be desirable to subdivide the broad forest plan allocations of ROS to provide more diversity in user experience. Due to the nature of the river recreation activity, the user s experience may allow subdivision into areas that have all the attributes of a less developed class except for size. However, one needs to exercise caution in subdividing a river. Any subdivision into smaller ROS management areas must include consideration of our ability to manage the discrete segment and the length of time a user experiences the segment. Due to the nature of river access, it may also be desirable to identify portal areas. Portal areas are areas of concentrated use that have developed because the locations provide access to a river or river corridor. Generally, portal areas include facilities installed to protect natural resources and provide for health and sanitation such as toilets. Since many portal areas are located at or near cultural or historic sites, education and interpretation opportunities may also be provided. Use of portal areas should generally follow the guidelines for on-site development in the setting in which the area occurs. Refer to the ROS Primer and Field Guide. Occasionally it may be appropriate to establish facilities higher in development level as a small enclave within a less developed ROS setting. For example, a Rural or Urban facility may be appropriate in an otherwise setting to meet river management objectives and satisfy the protection requirements of the Wild and Scenic s Act. However, it is generally inappropriate to install a facility with a higher development level than the surrounding setting in Primitive or classes as it will likely adversely affect the experience opportunities for users. 1

2 Terminology of the Matrices Including Inconsistencies Quoting from the ROS Primer and Field Guide, the matrices establish limits of acceptable change for each indicator in a given setting. describes normal conditions found in the setting. Fully compatible describes conditions that meet or exceed the norm. represents conditions that are generally not compatible with the norm, but may be necessary under some circumstances to meet management objectives. For example, jet boat access into a wild and scenic river classified as wild may occur based on the designating act. Unacceptable defines conditions that, under any circumstance, do not permit the creation or maintenance of a given setting. Resolution of any apparent conflicts and search for compatibilities should begin with the following guidelines for analyzing inconsistencies and continue through the public involvement process associated with development of river-specific direction. Analysis of Inconsistencies Evaluating a potential inconsistency requires a systematic analysis and the exercise of judgment. An inconsistency in one indicator does not automatically require a change in management or ROS class. Both the intensity of the inconsistency the severity of the effect on setting, access or use and its spatial extent must be considered and weighed. As expressed in the following table, an inconsistency rated high for intensity and spatial extent or moderate on one scale and high on the other would likely require elimination or a change in ROS class. The potential to make no change increases with combinations of moderate and/or low ratings, assuming the inconsistency has little or no effect on the area s character. 2

3 Important questions to address when evaluating the significance of ROS setting inconsistencies include: How did the inconsistency occur? Was it intentional in the forest plan direction or unanticipated? What are the implications of the inconsistency? For example, will the inconsistency be significant enough to create a change in ROS setting? Will the changes be rapid or slow? What is the intensity (severity) and spatial extent of the inconsistency? What is the degree of setting alteration or effects of inconsistent activity or mode of travel? Is the inconsistency activity or mode of travel concentrated in only a small portion of the ROS class or use season, or are they widespread? Will it be a short or long-term change in the ROS setting? What should be done about the inconsistency? If an inconsistency has been identified, there are three kinds of possible actions: (1) retain ROS class if inconsistency will have little or no effect on area s character and document rationale, (2) eliminate inconsistency through plan direction, (3) acknowledge inconsistency and change ROS class. 3

4 By considering the intensity and spatial extent of impacts, the actual or potential effects on setting indicators can be evaluated. The following matrix provides a method for evaluating the intensity and spatial extent of effects on recreation opportunities. This table may also be used for project-specific analysis. DEGREE OF EFFECTS OF INCONSISTENCY ON DESIRED ROS SETTING AND POTENTIAL ACTIONS HIGH Unacceptable INTENSITY MODERATE Unacceptable LOW SPATIAL EXTENT HIGH Eliminate Change ROS Unacceptable Eliminate Change ROS Retain/Document Eliminate Change ROS MODERATE Eliminate Change ROS Retain/Document Eliminate Change ROS Retain/Document Eliminate LOW Retain/Document Eliminate Change ROS Retain/Document Eliminate Retain/Document Retain/document if inconsistency will have little or no effect on area s character. Eliminate inconsistency through plan direction or management action. Acknowledge inconsistency and change ROS class. 4

5 How to Use This Guide ROS for Management provides a set of guidelines for inventorying current recreation settings, making determinations of current setting experiences, and, potentially, for establishing prescriptive requirements in order to achieve desired setting objectives. Each setting is defined by seven indicators: Access, Remoteness, Naturalness, Facilities and Site Management, Social Encounters, Visitor Impacts, and Visitor Management. For each indicator, an ROS Characterization table provides descriptive statements that characterize the river setting and experience within each ROS class. This table is accompanied by a matrix that displays how these descriptors are the norm, compatible, inconsistent or unacceptable within each ROS class. For use with a designated wild and scenic river, the matrix also relates river classification (wild, scenic or recreational) to ROS classes. Through the descriptors for each ROS class the local manager can compare their current situation with generalized statements for each class. This allows a manager to inventory the existing situation. As planning for the river occurs the manager can determine the implications of future management changes on the river setting and experiences by comparing proposed changes against the descriptors. Finally, the river manager can use the descriptors to develop prescriptions for the corresponding setting. 5

6 ROS Characterization Access Primitive Motorized Rural Urban - Access sites along the river are few and undeveloped. - Very few trailed access sites developed along the river. - Very few trailed access sites developed along the river. - Moderate number of access sites provided. - Easy access to river by roads. - Roads and road access are frequent. - Primitive roads to access points on edge of river corridor. - Primitive roads to access points within the river corridor only do not parallel river. - Roads parallel some portions of the river. - Some parallel roads, bridges, and power lines evident. - Some highway vehicle and off-road vehicle use is consistent and may be seen from the river. - Highway vehicle and off-road vehicle use is consistent and may be seen from the river - Highway vehicle use is consistent and is a dominant feature of the landscape. - Traditional nonmotorized watercraft consistent motorized use prohibited. - Traditional nonmotorized watercraft consistent motorized use prohibited. - Traditional nonmotorized and motorized watercraft consistent. - and motorized watercraft consistent. - and motorized watercraft consistent. - and motorized watercraft consistent.. 6

7 Access WSR Classification ROS Class Cross-Country Travel Trails and Waterways Wild Primitive Motorized Trails and Primitive Roads (TSL-D) (2) and Motorized Waterways Controlled TSL B&C Roads Full Access Wild Scenic Unacceptable Scenic Motorized Scenic Recreational (1) Recreational Rural Fully Compatible Recreational Urban (1) may be prescribed in certain circumstances with roads partially or fully closed. (2) TSL = Traffic Service Level. 7

8 ROS Characterization Remoteness Primitive Motorized Rural Urban - Highest expectation of experiencing isolation from the sights and sounds of humans. - Fairly high expectation of experiencing isolation from the sights and sounds of humans. - Fairly high expectation of experiencing isolation from the sights and sounds of others. - Moderate evidence of the sights and sounds of humans. - Evidence of sights and sounds of humans common from other river users and from people off the river. - High concentration of users and large number of people are within the area and nearby with evidence of other users being dominant. - Highest sense of remoteness. - Fairly high sense of remoteness. - Fairly high sense of remoteness. - Self-reliance through application of outdoor skills in an environment that offers a high degree of challenge and risk. - Self-reliance through application of outdoor skills in an environment that offers a high to moderate degree of challenge and risk. - Self-reliance through application of outdoor skills in an environment that offers a moderate degree of challenge and risk. - Opportunities for challenge in a natural environment but less expectation of risk. 8

9 WSR Classification ROS Class Out of sight and sound of human activity. Sense of commitment to river trip and perception of no return. Remoteness Distant sight and/or sound of human activity. Sense of commitment to river trip and perception of a difficult return. Wild Primitive Distant sight and/or sound of human activity. Opportunity to leave river trip at limited access points. Remoteness of little relevance. Wild Scenic Unacceptable Scenic Motorized Scenic Recreational Recreational Rural Fully Compatible Recreational Urban 9

10 ROS Characterization Naturalness Primitive Motorized Rural Urban - Unmodified natural environment. - Largely undisturbed natural environment. - Largely undisturbed natural environment. - Alterations to the landscape are subtle. Natural characteristics remain dominant. - Substantially modified landscape having both humanmade and natural features. - Landscape may be dominated by roads, towns, small cities or by recreation facilities. - Very little evidence of human development. - Little evidence of human development. - Little evidence of human development. - Moderate evidence of human development. - Evidence of human development prevalent. - Evidence of human development prevalent. - No impoundments, diversions or channel modifications. - No impoundments, diversions or channel modifications. - No impoundments, diversions or channel modifications. - Impoundments, diversions or channel modifications may be evident. - Impoundments, diversions or channel modifications may be evident. - Impoundments, diversions or channel modifications are common. 10

11 Naturalness or Scenic Integrity Objectives (1) WSR ROS Class Very High High Moderate Low Very Low Classification Wild Primitive Wild Scenic Unacceptable Scenic Motorized (2) Scenic (2) (2) (3) (4) Recreational Recreational Rural Fully Compatible (2) (3) (4) Recreational Urban (1) See Landscape Aesthetics: A Handbook for Scenery Management; USDA Handbook 701. Scenic integrity objectives refer to all resource activities. (2) from sensitive waterways, roads and trails. (3) only in middleground-concern level 2 (Mg-2) where a Roaded Modified subclass is used. (4) Unacceptable in Appearing and Rural where a Roaded Modified subclass is used. It may be the norm in a Roaded Modified subclass.. 11

12 ROS Characterization Facilities and Site Management Primitive Motorized Rural Urban - No facility development for user comfort. - Minimal facility development primarily for resource protection. - Minimal facility development primarily for resource protection. - Rustic facilities, developed for resource protection and to accommodate visitor use. - Some facility development for resource protection and to accommodate visitor comfort. - Facilities developed to manage/aid greater number of visitors. - Intensive facility development for visitor comfort. - Highly developed facilities for more intensive and specialized recreation activities. - Specific sites developed to provide health/sanitation facilities and recreation convenience. - Specific sites developed to provide health/sanitation facilities and recreation convenience. - Parties on river responsible for human waste disposal and leave no trace camping practices. - Parties on river responsible for human waste disposal and leave no trace camping practices. - Parties on river responsible for human waste disposal and leave no trace camping practices. - Land-based recreation facility development more prevalent. - Land-based facility development very prevalent. 12

13 Facilities and On-site Development WSR Classification ROS Class No facilities for user comfort. Rustic and rudimentary ones for site protection only. Use nondimensional native material only. Rustic and rudimentary facilities primarily for site protection. No evidence of synthetic materials. Use non-dimensional native materials. Wild Primitive Rustic facilities providing some comfort for the user as well as site protection. Use native materials but with more refinement in design. Synthetic materials should not be evident. Some facilities designed primarily for user comfort and convenience. Some synthetic but harmonious materials may be incorporated. Design may be more complex and refined. Facilities mostly designed for user comfort and convenience. Synthetic materials are commonly used. Facility design may be highly complex and refined but in harmony or complimentary to the site. Wild Scenic Unacceptable Scenic Motorized Scenic Recreational Recreational Rural Fully Compatible Recreational Urban 13

14 ROS Characterization Social Encounters Primitive Motorized Rural Urban - Very few contacts with other users. - Few contacts with other users primarily at rapids and access points. - Few contacts with other users primarily at rapids and access points. - Moderate use occurs contact with others is expected and occasionally continual, some chance for isolation. - Contact with others expected, including frequent interface between river users and shore users. - Frequent interface between river users and shore users. - None to little evidence of other users. - Little but some evidence of other users. - Little but some evidence of other users. - Some evidence of other users. - Frequent evidence of other users. - Evidence of other users. - Very small party size. - Small party size. - Small party size. 14

15 Social Encounters WSR Classification ROS Class Very few contacts, while on the river. Few contacts while on the river. Moderate to high contact with other river users, particularly at rapids and access points. Frequent interface between river users and shore users. Very frequent interface between river users and shore users No more than one other party within sight or sound of a campsite. Three or less parties within sight or sound of a campsite. Moderate to high contact on access roads. Moderate to low contact on trails and at developed sites. Moderate to high contact with other river users. Large numbers of users on-site and in nearby areas. Wild Wild Scenic Scenic Scenic Recreational Recreational Recreational Primitive Motorized Rural Urban Unacceptable Fully Compatible 15

16 ROS Characterization Visitor Impacts Primitive Motorized Rural Urban - Natural ecosystems operate freely. - Natural ecosystems operate freely. - Natural ecosystems dominate. - Natural ecosystems may be modified by human use. - Ecosystems are modified by human use. - Ecosystems are substantially modified by human use. - Human impacts are generally limited to welldispersed campsites of small size. - Human impacts are generally limited to campsites of small to moderate size. - Human impacts are generally limited to campsites of moderate to large size. - Human impacts obvious but subordinate. - Human impacts obvious. - Human impacts predominate. 16

17 Visitor Impacts WSR Classification ROS Class Unnoticeable impacts, no site hardening nor modification of camp areas. Subordinate impacts, minor modification of camp areas. Wild Primitive Sites may be subtly hardened to accommodate motorized use. Site hardening provided to minimize impacts and to provide for user convenience. Site hardening may be dominant but in harmony. Wild Scenic Unacceptable Non-Motorized Scenic Motorized Scenic Recreation Recreation Rural Fully Compatible Recreation Urban 17

18 ROS Characterization Visitor Management Primitive Motorized Rural Urban - No or few on-site visitor management controls or regulations apparent. - Only a few subtle onsite visitor management controls or regulations are apparent. - Only a few subtle onsite visitor management controls or regulations are apparent. - A few on-site visitor management controls or regulations may be expected. - Visitor management controls are visible and expected. - Numerous visitor management controls and regulations are in effect. - Contact with management personnel is rare. - Contact with management personnel is occasional. - Contact with management personnel is occasional. - Contact with management personnel is frequent. - Contact with management personnel is frequent. - Contact with management personnel and law enforcement officers occurs often. - On guided trips, visitors perceive a high degree of challenge and risk. - On guided trips visitors perceive a high to moderate degree of challenge and risk. - On guided trips visitors perceive a high to moderate degree of challenge and risk. - On guided trips visitors perceive a moderate to low degree of challenge and risk. - On guided trips visitors perceive a low degree of challenge and risk. - On guided trips visitors perceive a low degree of challenge and risk. 18

19 Visitor Management WSR Classification ROS Class Low regimentation. No on-site controls or information facilities. Subtle on-site regimentation and controls. Very limited information facilities. Wild Primitive On-site regimentation and controls are noticeable but harmonize with the natural environment. Simple information facilities. Regimentation and controls obvious and numerous, but harmonize. More complex information facilities. Regimentation and controls obvious and numerous. Sophisticated information exhibits. Wild Scenic Unacceptable Scenic Motorized Scenic Recreational Recreational Rural Fully Compatible Recreational Urban 19

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