Protected area management involves balancing environmental and social objectives. This is particularly difficult at high-use/high-impact recreation sites, because resource protection objectives may require substantial site management or visitor regulation. This study examined visitors? reactions to both of these types of actions at Annapolis Rocks, Maryland, a popular Appalachian Trail camping area. We surveyed visitors before and after implementation of camping policies that included shifting camping to designated newly constructed campsites and prohibiting campfires. Survey results reveal that visitors were more satisfied with all social and environmental indicators after the changes were enacted. An Importance-Performance analysis also determined that management actions improved conditions for factors of greatest concern to campers prior to the changes. Posttreatment visitors were least satisfied with factors related to reduced freedom and to some characteristics of the constructed campsites. Although there was evidence of visitor displacement, the camping changes met management goals by protecting the camping area?s natural resources and improving social conditions.
Additional publication details
Visitor evaluations of management actions at a highly impacted Appalachian Trail camping area