United States Department of Agriculture
Forest Service

  
  ROS Primer and Field Guide

impacts icon Visitor Impacts

This factor refers to the impacts of visitor use on the environment. The relevant question for managers is not "how can impacts be prevented", but rather, "how much change will be allowed and which actions are appropriate for control". The matrix below suggests appropriate actions for controlling impacts on soil and vegetation. Impacts on wildlife habitat, and on air, water, and sound quality affect the visitor's experience as well Visitor impacts can alter wildlife habitat or displace wildlife species, including indicator species, which provide an important means of monitoring recreation related impacts on fish and other wildlife Maintaining air, water, and noise quality standards in the face of visitor impacts is important in all ROS classes.

Unnoticable impacts. No site hardening. Subordinate impacts. No site hardening. Subordinate impacts. Limited site hardening. Subtle site hardening. Site hardening may be dominant but in harmony.
Primitive Norm Incon. Unacceptable Unacceptable Unacceptable
Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized Compatible Norm Incon. Unacceptable Unacceptable
Semi-Primitive Motorized Compatible Compatible Norm Incon. Unacceptable
Roaded Natural Compatible Compatible Compatible Norm Incon.
Rural Compatible Compatible Compatible Compatible Norm
Urban Compatible Compatible Compatible Compatible Compatible

photograph: a heavily used campground

This southern California campground illustrates site hardening appropriate to an Urban facility. Curb cuts and a ramp to each unit should be provided for disabled campers.

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