The Northwest Forest Plan required the US Forest Service (USFS) to shift its management focus to ecological values rather than the utilitarian ones that had dominated forest policy in the region. This article examines the effects of this shift on the USFS's historic mission to provide recreational access to the region's forests. Focusing on six national forests, it draws on a series of interviews with USFS personnel to answer two questions that explore the persistence of policies across time and the importance of the implementation stage in shaping outcomes. How did the USFS balance a deeply entrenched, institutionalized history of recreational use against new ecological priorities and habitat protection expectations? What were the effects at the local level on recreational use and access in riparian and other ecologically sensitive areas? The findings indicate that despite greater attention to ecological protection, recreation continues to be a priority.
Wilson, Patrick Impero; Hall, Troy E.; Kruger, Linda E. 2012. Riparian area protection and outdoor recreation: lessons from the Northwest Forest Plan. Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research. 4(2): 131-141.