Recreation after evacuation: how the Eagle Creek wildfire affected recreation in the Columbia River Gorge

Appeared in Nature and Health News

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re all too familiar with the effects of wildfire. From devastating loss of life and personal property, to reduced air quality and services, wildfires have acute and long-term impacts on our communities.

Often, wildfires occur during the “fifth season” at the peak of late summer/early fall recreation when Washingtonians and visitors alike are hiking, biking, climbing, and enjoying the long days.

A new study by researchers from Nature and Health at the University of Washington sought to understand the impact of wildfire on outdoor recreation. The team, which included members of the UW Outdoor Recreation & Data Lab and the U.S. Forest Service, used geolocated social media posts to estimate visitation numbers to popular recreation areas. They then visualized recreation patterns in the Columbia River Gorge before and after the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017… (continue)