'Digital footprints' central to new approach for studying post-disturbance recreation changes

Social media-based study of recreation visitation in the Gorge following the Eagle Creek Fire expands on research launched in 2016 — and holds promise for other large, multi-ownership landscapes

Appeared in Pacific Northwest Research Station News

The Columbia River Gorge is a crown jewel for recreation in the Pacific Northwest, stretching more than 80 miles along the borders of Washington and Oregon and providing a wide variety of trails, campgrounds, waterfalls, and wilderness areas for recreational use. In 2017, the western portion of the area was burned by the Eagle Creek Fire, a human-caused, wind-driven blaze that ultimately burned nearly 50,000 acres and caused temporary closures of some of the most popular sites in the area.

Trends show that outdoor recreation is increasing, but so, too, are the rates of wildfires and other disturbances. The challenge for managers, then, is providing future recreation opportunities in this dynamic environment… (continue)