WINTER USE DATA COLLECTION
Winter Use Data Collection Initiative
The Winter Use Data Collection Initiative (DCI) is a multi-year program undertaken by WCU students to collect unbiased winter recreation data in the Gunnison National Forest. The program is supervised by Professor Melanie Armstrong. Collecting unbiased data is an important first step to enable the community, user groups and land managers to make informed decisions concerning winter travel management.
Summary of Winter Use in the Upper Gunnison Valley (2017-2020)
Note: The observational periods varied by trailhead and year. The observation period for Snodgrass in Winter 19-20 was low, because the motion detection camera was stolen. The total number and type of users recorded per year are shown below. The data for Winter 19-20 were affected by Covid-19 shutdowns in the spring of 2020.
The Winter 2020-21 research effort was led by MEM graduate student Alex Stach. The data were collected utilizing the same protocols as previous years. The number and types of users may have been affected by Covid-19 related closures and travel restrictions.
The Winter 2019-20 research effort was led by MEM graduate student Justin Sanchez. The data were collected utilizing the same protocols as in 2017-18. The number and types of users were affected by Covid-19 related closures and travel restrictions.
The winter 2018/19 research was led by WCU MEM graduate student, Kendall Cox. Her thesis emphasis included data collection and in-depth data analysis utilizing multiple years of data. Funding for the current year’s DCI is ongoing.
The winter 2017/2018 effort was led by WCU graduate student Douglas Shaw. Infrared detector cameras were utilized to collect recreational usage data at each of six trailheads: Kebler Pass, Slate River, Washington Gulch, Gothic Corridor and Brush Creek (two sites: Brush Creek Trailhead and Brush Creek Road). On site observations were also conducted to verify the data.
A pilot program was completed by MEM student, Brian Lieberman, in winter 2016-17 with data collected in the Slate River drainage. He also conducted an online survey that had 313 participants.