You can't always get what you want : managing recreational use in the Middlesex Fells
Author(s)Christenson, Andrea (Andrea Laura)
Managing recreational use in the Middlesex Fells
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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Land conservation programs are often guided by a dual mission: to protect natural resources and provide for the recreational use of a property. These goals are fundamentally in conflict, however, because all recreational use causes environmental impacts. Recreational management decisions are frequently contentious, as different types of recreationalists argue that their use is appropriate within the context of natural resource protection. Such a conflict is currently playing out in the Middlesex Fells Reservation, which is owned and managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). I use the Middlesex Fells Trail System Plan as a case study to explore how public agencies resolve conflicts over open space. I find that the driving force behind DCR's recreational use decisions is user group input; the agency takes user demands seriously. But user group desires are filtered through a variety of factors, all of which push the agency's ensuing recommendations toward the middle ground of compromise and incremental change. These factors include the agency's mission, existing system-wide policies, staff's professional judgment about the purpose of the property, the agency's understanding of the science, the regulatory framework, and most importantly-perceptions of political feasibility. I argue that the draft Trail System Plan attempts to reconcile the conflicting user group demands by accommodating each group's desired recreational experiences. DCR was unable to implement the draft plan, however, because the proposed compromise did not reconcile the fundamental difference in how user groups view and value the property.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2011.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 57-62).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.