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    Author(s): Stephen F. McCool; Roger N. Clark; George Stankey
    Date: 2007
    Source: Gen. Tech Rep. PNW-GTR-705. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 125 p
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (763 KB)


    Public land managers are confronted with an ever-growing and diversifying set of demands for providing recreation opportunities. Coupled with a variety of trends (devolution of governance and decisionmaking, population growth, technological innovation, shifts in public values, economic restructuring) and reduced organizational capacity, these demands represent a significant and complex challenge to public land management. One way of dealing with this situation is to use a framework to assist in working through this complexity. A framework, for the purpose of this report, is a process using a set of steps, based on sound science, that assists managers in framing a particular problem, working through it, and arriving at a set of defendable decisions. Several such frameworks exist for providing recreation opportunities on public lands. These include the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum, Limits of Acceptable Change, Visitor Experience and Resource Protection, Visitor Impact Management, and Benefits-Based Management. The report traces the development of each of these frameworks, describes the fundamental premises and concepts used within them, and provides an assessment of the experience with their use. Each of the frameworks has been used with varying success, depending on the organization’s will, its technical capacity, the extent to which the process is inclusive of varying value systems, how open and deliberative the process is, the extent to which the organization is concerned with effectiveness, and the extent to which issues are confronted at the systems level.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    McCool, Stephen F.; Clark, Roger N.; Stankey, George, H. 2007. An assessment of frameworks useful for public land recreation planning. Gen. Tech Rep. PNW-GTR-705. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 125 p


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    Recreation frameworks, planning, ROS, LAC, VERP, VIM, BBM

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