Climate Change Adaptation Strategies and Approaches for Outdoor Recreation

Daniel O’Toole, Stephen D. Handler, and Christopher W. Swanston
Created: 4/20/2020 -

Abstract

Climate change will alter opportunities and demand for outdoor recreation through altered winter weather conditions and season length, climate-driven changes in user preferences, and damage to recreational infrastructure, among other factors. To ensure that outdoor recreation remains sustainable in the face of these challenges, natural resource managers may need to adapt their recreation management. One of the major challenges of adapting recreation to climate change is translating broad concepts into specific, tangible actions. Using a combination of in-depth interviews of recreational managers and a review of peer-reviewed literature and government reports, we developed a synthesis of impacts, strategies, and approaches, and a tiered structure that organizes this information. Six broad climate adaptation strategies and 25 more specific approaches were identified and organized into a “recreation menu”. The recreation menu was tested with two national forests in the US in multi-day workshops designed to integrate these concepts into real-world projects that were at the beginning stages of the planning process. We found that the recreation menu was broad yet specific enough to be applied to recreation-focused projects with different objectives and climate change impacts. These strategies and approaches serve as stepping stones to enable natural resource and recreation managers to translate broad concepts into targeted and prescriptive actions for implementing adaptation.

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Keywords

Scale
National / Federal
Sector Addressed
Tourism / Recreation
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Temperature
Culture / communities
Snowpack
Tourism
Habitat/Biome Type
Forest
Region
North America
United States