Recreation Planning

Sustainable recreation requires careful planning. For this indicator we assessed the quality of agency wide recreation plans for major land management agencies in the watershed that allow public recreation on their lands, specifically Arizona State Trust Lands, Coconino National Forest, Kaibab National Forest, Prescott National Forest, Tonto National Forest, and the U.S. National Park Service.

How is it measured?

Plans were graded along the following parameters:

Existence and Ease of Access. Forest Plans, which include extensive recreation components were downloaded and analyzed from the website of each of the National Forests identified above. Plans for Tuzigoot National Monument, Montezuma Well, and Montezuma Castle were downloaded from the National Parks Service Website. Email conversations with the Arizona State Lands Department showed that the department does not have a recreation plan. Jurisdictions without a plan received a score of 0. Jurisdictions with a plan received 20 points.

Date Since Last Update. Given the rapid population and economic growth in the watershed, recreation plans must be regularly updated to be effective. Conversations with stakeholders identified that 10 years was a reasonable and effective timetable for updating recreation plans, matching the expected update cycle for U.S.D.A. Forest Service plans. To reflect this, plans updated this year were given 20 points. This was reduced by two points each year the plan was in place until it was 10 or more years old, at which point the plan would recieve 0 additional points.  

Needs Assessment. Good recreation plans should describe the recreation needs of the jurisdiction within the context of past planning and anticipated future conditions. Plans that explicity addressed the existing planning context were given 20 points.

Public Participation. Public participation is a critical component of building sustainable recreation plans that are matched to community needs. Plans that involved the public in their generation were given 20 points.

Desired Conditions. The types and intensity of recreation that a given location can support often vary throughout a jurisdiction. Plans that explicitly recognized this fact and established site specific desired recreation conditions were give 20 points.