Sustainable Recreation: Now and in the Future
Over a million people visit the Gifford Pinchot National Forest each year. While public demand for recreation has increased, deteriorating infrastructure and declining budgets result in not meeting public expectations of safe, clean, and accessible recreation experiences. We need to look at ways to do things differently to better meet these expectations.
Over the past year, the forest has been evaluating our recreation opportunities and sites. We held public meetings, reached out to user groups, and offered an online questionaire to ask for your ideas and input about how our recreation sites could be managed.
Read our 6-year program of work that resulted from your input!
- Build a high-quality, sustainable recreation program within our budget realities.
- Manage a sustainable number of sites to a higher standard rather than juggle a large number of sites in poor condition that do not meet safety & sanitation standards.
- Explore creative options and develop community based solutions.
Recreation Site Work and Changes
Safe & Sustainable Recreation
Please select from the following to learn more.
Why are we doing this?
To meet our goal of a sustainable, high-quality recreation program within our budget realities, we need to explore creative options and develop community-based solutions. Not changing our approach will lead to further decline of recreation sites and changes in service levels.
What have we learned so far?
An initial analysis of 210 highly developed recreation sites (campgrounds, restrooms, visitor facility locations, trailheads, and cabin/lookout rentals) evaluated facility conditions including safety, cost/benefit analysis, facility life cycle costs, and use by the public.
The analysis revealed over $1.7 million dollars would be needed annually to adequately operate and maintain these sites at their current level, which results in a funding shortfall of over $700,000. In addition, deferred maintenance on these sites is over $10 million, far above Forest Service funding capacity.
After gathering information and public input, we have identified potential ways sites could be managed. We are seeking feedback on the proposed program of work for our developed recreation sites. Over the next 6 years, we plan to implement recommended changes. Any changes that involve site-specific, ground-disturbing, or recreation fee change proposals will have additional opportunities for public review and comment.
With your help, we identified sites that might need partner groups to take leadership roles in operations. We are seeking organized groups to help us work together and address the challenges at these sites. Read our proposed developed recreation program of work.
In future years, we plan to look at the sustainability of our existing trail system, dispersed recreation, and other related recreation opportunities.
- List of all developed recreation sites on the forest
- Map of developed recreation sites on Cowlitz Valley Ranger District
- Map of developed recreation sites on Mount Adams Ranger District
- Map of developed recreation sites on Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Want to learn more about the our evaluation and analysis process? Click here for information about the Recreation Site Analysis process.