Colorado State Conference to Study National Parks Capacity


For Immediate Release
September 30, 1999
Contact:
Glenn Haas, (970) 491-5126
Michael Manfredo, (970) 491-6591; OR
Dave Weymiller, (970) 491-6432
DWeymiller@vines.colostate.edu

COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY ORGANIZES NATIONAL CONFERENCE TO STUDY CARRYING CAPACITY OF NATIONAL PARKS AND RECREATION AREAS

FORT COLLINS--Experts from across the country will gather in Snowmass, Colo., Nov. 29-Dec. 2 to examine the question of whether we are loving our public lands and waters to death.

The program will feature high-ranking government officials; park and public land professionals from across America; academic experts on recreation and tourism; wildlife and ecology specialists; and representatives of environmental and outdoor recreation groups to dissect the difficult question of when capacity has been reached and what to do about it.

"No one wants to deny U.S. citizens or increasing numbers of international visitors who use this country's magnificent natural resources access to the outdoors, nor limit their activities in some way," said Glenn Haas, Colorado State professor of natural resource recreation and tourism and co-chair of the conference. "The problem is that, intuitively, we see that day coming due to sheer population pressures and the increasing popularity of outdoor recreation."

Michael Manfredo, professor and head of the department and Colorado State's other co-chair, said, "From a professional perspective, how we deal with the issue of human capacity may be the single greatest challenge to recreational use of outdoor lands and waters in the coming century. We've assembled a rich variety of experts and advocates to help formulate solutions to providing quality, sustainable experiences in the American outdoors."

The three-day "Conference on Recreation and Resource Capacity" will open with a day of plenary sessions and continue with two days of panels on the perspectives of wildlife, park superintendents, hunters, off-road vehicle drivers, boaters, fishermen, outdoors educators, ecotourists and land managers.

There is a lot of work to do, according to Haas and Manfredo. Larger issues that panels and speakers will grapple with include:
*fundamental moral issues that arise in excluding the public from public lands and the related debate that pits preservation against use;
*disagreement among experts at the theoretical level;
*a lack of data from the social, biological and physical sciences;
*insufficient communications among local, state, federal and private property managers;
*whether current planning is effective;
*what the public wants and will accept in order to maintain the quality of their outdoor experience;
*the economic impacts on local communities and business owners; and
*the role American political and judicial systems need to play in formulating policy.

More information is available from http://www.cnr.colostate.edu/NRRT/capacity/.

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EDITOR, PLEASE NOTE: Complimentary press passes are available to reporters. For more information, contact Susan Scott Lundquist at (970) 491-4865.

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