Assessing the Ecological Impact Due to Disc Golf

Sylvia A. Trendafilova, Steven N. Waller

Year: 2011 Volume: 8 Issue: c

Pages: 35-64

Abstract: The aggregate demand for outdoor recreation has increased in recent years, thus presenting managers with the challenge of providing opportunities for outdoor participation and at the same time preserving in a sustainable way the ecosystem in which those activities take place. The identification and assessment of environmental impacts as a result of modern urbanization have become a top priority among conservationists and managers. This study examines the ecological footprint of a popular urban recreational activity: disc golf. Three ecological markers were selected as indicators of ecological degradation: soil erosion, soil compaction and density of vegetation cover. Results indicated that disc golf significantly increases soil compaction, which yields greater soil erosion and a decrease in vegetation cover. The findings of this study call upon managers and professionals to pay closer attention not only to the ecological degradation associated with outdoor recreational activities but also to the solutions that would lead to a long-term sustainable management. Since some of the ecological degradation is caused by human behavior, a focus on behavioral interventions should be an essential component in finding a relatively inexpensive and sustainable solution.