A recreation impact monitoring system was developed and applied in 1984?1986 and in 1991 to all backcountry river-accessed campsites within Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Results suggest that actions implemented by park managers in response to problems identified by the initial survey were highly effective in reducing resource degradation caused by camping. In particular, the elimination of some designated campsites and installation of anchored firegrates reduced the total area of disturbance by 50%. Firegrate installation provided a focal point that increased the concentration of camping activities, allowing peripheral areas to recover. As suggested by predictive models, additional resource degradation caused by increased camping intensities is more than offset by improvements in the condition of areas where use is eliminated. The capabilities and management utility of recreation impact monitoring programs, illustrated by the Delaware Water Gap monitoring program, are also presented and discussed.