Publication Details

State game and wildlife area recreation use assessment: Michigan's Maple River state game area, fall 2005

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Nelson, Charles M.; Steffey, Eric; Clark, Eric

Year Published

2007

Publication

In: Burns, R.; Robinson, K., comps. Proceedings of the 2006 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium; 2006 April 9-11; Bolton Landing, NY. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-14. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 33-40.

Abstract

Michigan state game and wildlife areas (SGA) provide the most public land in southern Michigan, where 8.5 million people reside. These areas are managed for wildlife habitat and wildlife associated recreation. They charge no entry fee, have many access points, and have little or no on-site staff. Recreational use on SGAs has not been assessed since the 1970s. This paper reports on a use assessment on the 8,000-acre Maple River SGA during fall 2005. It follows past methods of assessing on-site use by counting parked vehicles and leaving a business reply mail postcard with the vehicle. It also uses a mail questionnaire to all adjacent private ownerships to determine game area use not involving vehicles parked on public land/roads. Results show the game area had 52,000 person-use hours from September 15 - December 15, 2005. Of those, 76 percent were by on-site users parking vehicles on the game area or adjacent public roadways and 24 percent were by adjacent owner households and their guests parking outside of the game area. Hunting was the most common recreational activity. On-site users were generally satisfi ed with their experience. Key sources of satisfaction included exceeding expectations of seeing wildlife, quality habitat, and a place to hunt. Sources of dissatisfaction included vandalism, litter, confl icts with others, and not seeing expected wildlife. Adjacent landowners were less satisfi ed with their interactions with game area users and managers. Key sources of dissatisfaction included trespassing, vandalism, and litter by users and lack of responsiveness to concerns by managers. Recommendations to improve the situation include additional policing, emphasizing stewardship and ethics in hunter safety training, establishing a game area watch program, and regular, well publicized citizen clean-ups of the SGA.

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Citation

Nelson, Charles M.; Steffey, Eric; Clark, Eric. 2007. State game and wildlife area recreation use assessment: Michigan''s Maple River state game area, fall 2005. In: Burns, R.; Robinson, K., comps. Proceedings of the 2006 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium; 2006 April 9-11; Bolton Landing, NY. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-14. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 33-40.

Last updated on: September 10, 2007