Photo by Noah Shatzer

SMRC: Harrisburg University/Michaux State Forest

Recreation on public lands is increasing in popularity, particularly for those within proximity of urban centers. Most public lands have a multi-use mandate that seeks to provide users with a positive outdoor recreation experience while maintaining ecological integrity. Past studies have shown that recreational trail use can have deleterious effects on stream ecosystems.
Trail use can compact soils, increasing peak flow events during storms, increase stream sedimentation, alter stream flow, and decrease habitat quality for aquatic life. However, base-line data on trail impacts to streams is often lacking. Without such data, it is difficult for land managers to make informed decisions regarding trail management, including trail closures or issuing event permits. How many trail stream crossings can a public land sustain without deleterious effects? This study proposes to collect base-line data on stream impacts due to trail crossings along Tom’s Run and Mountain Creek within Michaux State Forest.

Project Team: Michaux State Forest and Harrisburg Univeristy

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