PWS Framework - Recreation User Experience and Distribution

Kayaking in the Sound

This study evaluates dispersed recreation in Prince William Sound in terms of describing the spatial distribution and intensity of use as well as evaluating the user experience. The two major empirical components of this study were (1) kayak and boat-based transect observations of vessel traffic as a means to determine boating use levels, and (2) a trip diary questionnaire to evaluate user profiles in terms of activities, impacts, conflicts, and experiences. These two components were expanded upon by the use of secondary validation efforts, including computer simulation of visitor traffic and targeted focus group evaluation.  Analysis of results found a strong correlation between destinations reported by questionnaire respondents and use locations observed on a systematic transect. Thus a combination of these two datasets was used to generate predictive GIS raster surfaces of seasonal recreation use intensity. An overwhelming proportion (95%) of respondents reported experiences that were as, or better than, expected with 95% also reporting they would return to the Sound.  Only 10% of respondents reported negative encounters with other users, and none reported displacement due to encounters. Finally, when asked about remnant oil, only two of 171 respondents noticed signs of lingering oil.