INTRODUCTION

People today are increasingly concerned with personal health, and are partaking in outdoor recreation for fitness and enjoyment. The Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area provides an ideal location for outdoor recreation for a variety of users. The vegetation includes ferns, mosses and other herbaceous species along the bottom of the escarpment, old growth cedars along the top and edges of the escarpment, mixed hardwood forests, swampy areas, and even a natural spring. The terrain ranges in slope from flat meadow areas to steep escarpment faces. Such terrain makes Kolapore ideal for hikers, cross country skiers, rock climbers and mountain bikers of various ability.

However, in the wake of todayís increase in demand for outdoor recreation there is also an increasing concern for environmental conservation. Outdoor recreation in natural areas alters the natural environment making proper management essential. This requires managing existing resources to minimize environmental stress. Preservation and use must be balanced, while resolving conflict between competing users. Our group consists of four, fourth year B.Sc. (Agriculture) students majoring in Natural Resource Management, with various specializations and related experiences. For this research study we will be examining the impact of recreation users on the Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area. This will be achieved by conducting a biophysical inventory of the four representative landscape types, selecting impact criteria based on previous research, and conducting a subjective analysis. Results will be analyzed and discussed in order to develop management recommendations and conclusions.

 

BACKGROUND

The Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area is situated on the eastern edge of the Beaver Valley (see map, Appendix a), on the Niagara Escarpment. The features of the area were for the most part shaped by glaciation. The escarpment was formed by differential erosion, with the shales being worn away by weathering faster than the hard dolostone which remains. The soil consists of rocky, glacial till (University of Toronto Outing Club, 1994).

During the mid nineteenth century land in this area was given to settlers through a lottery system, and much of the forest was cut for agriculture and timber. According to James Faught of the Grey County Forest Stewardship Network, lands adjacent to the escarpment were not cleared, and many of the surrounding sites have been converted back to forests due to their unsuitability for agriculture.

The Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area is approximately 52.5 km2 consisting of 60 km of marked trails making up approximately 0.1% of the total area. These trails include parts of the Bruce Trail which is a system that runs from Niagara to Tobermory. The trails are enjoyed by a multitude of recreational users such as cross country skiers, hikers and off road cyclists. The trails were developed and are managed by the University of Toronto Outing Club and the Bruce Trail Association with increasing support from various local volunteer groups. The land is owned by the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, Grey County and private landowners. In addition, the area is part of the Niagara Escarpment Parks system which provides additional support for ongoing conservation practices.

 

Canada Land Inventory

The Canada Land Inventory for recreation divides the Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area into class 4 (subclass R) and class 5 (subclass Q and O) (CLI Recreation, 1971). According to the CLI classification system, class 4 lands have moderate capability for outdoor recreation. The subclass R indicates that there are opportunities for recreation due to interesting rock formations. Class 5 lands have moderately low capability for recreation. The subclass Q indicates that the area has a variety of topographical formations which enhances general outdoor recreation such as hiking or nature study, while subclass O indicates that there is opportunity to view upland wildlife. Kolapore is only a 1.5 hour drive from Toronto, which according to the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (R.O.S.) (Wall, 1989) is a suitable distance to attract tourists, naturalists, or recreational enthusiasts planning day or weekend excursions.

The Canada Land Inventory for forestry divides the Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area into class 3 (subclass D and L), class 5 (subclass W) and class 2 (subclass D and L) (CLI Forestry, 1971). According to the CLI classification system class 3 lands have moderate limitations to the growth of commercial forests. The subclass D indicates that there are physical restrictions to rooting by dense consolidated layers other than bedrock, and the subclass L indicates that there are excessive levels of calcium in the soil. Class 5 lands have severe limitations to the growth of commercial forests, the subclass W indicates that excessive moisture is evident in some areas. Class 2 lands have slight limitations to the growth of commercial forests. The subclasses D and L have been explained in the above. The major tree species present in this area will be discussed in the section on Community Descriptions.

 

The Canada Land Inventory for agriculture divides the Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area into class 3 (subclass P) and class 5 (subclass T and P) (CLI Agriculture, 1971). Class 3 lands have moderately severe limitations that restrict the range of crops or require conservation practices. The subclass P indicates stoniness, this would interfere with tillage, planting and harvesting. Class 5 lands have very severe limitations that restrict their capability to produce perennial forage crops. Improvement practices are feasible. These lands could produce forages but not annual field crops. The subclass T indicates the presence of adverse topography; either steepness or the pattern of slopes limit agricultural uses.

 

GOAL AND OBJECTIVES

Goal

 

Objectives

site #1: escarpment

site #2: slope

site #3: swamp

site #4: lowland forest

 

 

 

METHODOLOGY 

After familiarizing ourselves with the Kolapore Wilderness Area, our group chose four study sites to obtain a representative sampling of the environmental impacts from recreation. The areas were chosen with regard to varying topography, soil types, and trail characteristics (escarpment, swamp, slope and lowland forest). Within each of the study areas, 3 transect lines of 10 metres were laid across the trail, with the center of the trail located at the 5m mark. Distances between transect lines were also measured and recorded. Measurement points along the transect lines were established (1m, 4m, 5m, 6m, 9m). These points were used to collect data for general features, soil characteristics, vegetation inventory, litter inventory, and trail width.

 

General Features

The general features of each site were those that fell along the transect lines. These features are shown for each transect on cross sectional diagrams (see Appendix b). The site characteristics were topography (slope, stoniness), trail characteristics (concavity, width) and transect position.

At each site the topography was assessed through visual analysis. Any slope was measured with a clinometre. Topographic and biological features were the primary decision requirements for site selection and categorization of each site.

The trail center was located at the 5m location along each transect line. The trail was then measured for depth with a measuring tape from the edge of trail to the center and any change in height was recorded. The trail width was recorded in the same manner, from edge to edge and

recorded in metres. In addition, a compass bearing was taken to provided orientation within the Kolapore boundaries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO 1: Transect Line

 


Soil Characteristics

The soil aspects for each of the sites were analyzed along each of the transect lines with regards to A-horizon depths and soil compaction levels. The soil types and characteristics were assessed in the field and through CLI soil survey maps (Agriculture Canada, 1981). Soil texture assessment was performed at the center of the trail (5m), one metre from the trail (4m or 6m) and four metres from the trail (1m or 9m).

The A-horizon depths were analyzed by taking an auger sample at the same transect sites as the texture assessment. This provided an indication of the change in soil characteristics on and off the trail at varying distances from the trail center. Three auger samples were taken for each transect line at 1m and 4m from the centre of the trail, and at the centre of the trail, resulting in a total of nine samples for each of the four sites. The boundary of the A-horizon was identified by a change in colour and soil type, and then measured and recorded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO 2: Group Member (in grey) Taking An Auger Sample

 

The compaction measurements were obtained at the 1m, 4m, 5m (on trail) 6m and 9m transect points through the use of bulk density rings to remove a consistent volume (cm3) of the surface soil material (see Appendix b for point locations). The individual soil samples were transported to the University of Guelph soil laboratory and dried in an oven for 48 hours at 105° Celsius. The samples were weighed in the laboratory to determine the dry weight in grams (g). The dry bulk density (g/cm3) for each data point was then calculated by the following equation:

 

individual sample dry weight (g)

individual sample B.D. (g/cm3) = volume of the ring (cm3)

 

The organic matter contents (%) for the individual samples were determined in the soil laboratory. However, due to financial constraints, all of the samples could not be analyzed with respect to organic matter. Therefore, the sample points corresponding to the middle transect line for each study area were chosen to give a representation of the organic matter content along the trail cross section.

 

Vegetation

Vegetation was studied by recording all of the woody and herbaceous species that fell on each of the transect lines. In addition, tree diameters were measured, and the areas surrounding the transects were examined to determine common species to provide an overall view of the area. Dominant and less abundant tree species were noted in order to determine forest type, and percent canopy cover was estimated.

 

While measuring trail width, ground vegetation was closely studied. This was to distinguish between the actual trail and a buffer zone to determine the impacted width. The amount of leaf litter was also recorded.

In addition to the four study sites, general observations were recorded of the camping area. It was felt that this area was of importance due to the high level of use it receives. However, the area did not warrant a detailed site description as it was only briefly studied.

 

 

COMMUNITY DESCRIPTIONS

To obtain a representative sampling of the area the following four landscape types were selected for study: escarpment, wetland, slope and lowland forest. Each of these site locations and trail ratings are marked on the Kolapore Trail Map, Appendix c.

 

Site #1: Escarpment

Site one was located at the top of the Niagara Escarpment, along a most difficult rated trail. The soil was the Breypen land type, a very shallow soil mantle overlying limestone bedrock. The drainage was variable, as was the topography which helped support a good tree cover of hardwoods. The canopy cover was 85%, with cedar (Thuja sp.) being the dominant tree species. Other tree species present included white birch (Betula papyriferia), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides), balsam fir (Abies balsamea) and white spruce (Picea glauca). The ground cover off the trail consisted of 2 to 3 cm of leaf litter, debris, rocks, fern, moss and some ground cover vegetation.

 

Site #2: Slope

Site two was located on a 21% slope, that received a more difficult trail rating. The soil was Osprey loam that was well drained and was formed from stony till. Limestone boulders dotted the surface of this transect area, which is a common occurrence in soils of this type. In some areas there was a dip of up to 28 cm created by trail use.

The dominant tree species of the forest was sugar maple, and other species included cedar, white ash (Fraxinus americana), cherry (Prunus sp.), dogwood (Cornus sp.), beech (Fagus sp.)

and hemlock (Tsuga sp.). The canopy cover was 75% and leaf litter covered 15 to 20% of the ground. Ground cover was abundant and included sedges, mosses and a variety of broad leaf weeds.

 

Site #3: Swamp

The third site was a swampy area which was shown on the map to have an easiest trial rating for winter use only. The trail soil was muck with poor drainage. The surface layer was black and had decomposed organic materials derived from leaves, sedges, etc. Muck land is usually saturated with water for a large part of the year.

The canopy consisted of approximately 60% cover, with the swampy area being relatively open compared to the forested area. The dominant tree species of the woodland was sugar maple and other species included ash (Fraxinus sp.), dogwood and spruce (Picea sp.). Ground cover and vegetation closer to the swamp consisted of bulrushes, sedges, moss, fern and seedlings of ash, maple and dogwood. At the swamp edge there were several dead maples.

 

Site #4: Lowland Forest

This site was located close to a sideroad and was a late successional forest stand. The soil was Osprey loam, the same as that of site two. The trail rating for this site was more difficult. The dominant tree species was sugar maple, represented by mixed ages. Other tree species present included beech and hop hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), and the canopy cover was 90%. Litter consisted of fallen leaves, sticks and dead saplings, and ground covers included fern, moss, trillium and some grasses.

 

EVALUATION CRITERIA

Our research team created criteria in order to assess the severity of the impact of trail recreation on the Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area. These criteria were established based on several factors including values that have been utilized in similar research, as well as standards developed by our group with the aid of qualified individuals. Criteria were established for the following four characteristics: bulk density, organic matter, depth of soil A horizon, and width of the trail.

 

Bulk Density

Bulk density can be defined as the mass of dry soil per unit bulk volume, expressed as grams per cubic centimeter (Foth, 1990). Changes in soil porosity due to compaction are commonly evaluated in terms of changes in bulk density. Compaction causes a decrease in total pore space which reduces available oxygen and adversely affects plantsí rooting ability. Soils with bulk densities of 1.6 to 1.8 g/cm3 present barriers to root penetration (Foth, 1990). Therefore, we have chosen 1.6 g/cm3 as our upper limit of an acceptable bulk density value for recreational areas. Anything above this would hinder the opportunity for revegetation.

 

Organic Matter

Organic matter is essential for all plant life. Reduced organic matter results in increased susceptibility to compaction. Thus, as bulk density was expected to increase with increased recreational use of the Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area, it was felt that organic matter contents would be of importance.

 

Soil organic matter is constantly subject to change through decomposition and loss. Due to this fact and the unavailability of research in this area, it is impossible to derive an acceptable organic matter percentage criteria to evaluate recreational impact. We will instead look at the correlation between bulk density and organic matter, as soils low in organic matter are more susceptible to compaction (Foth, 1990). The differences in organic matter percentages along transect lines will also be reported, and any large variations in on and off trail organic matter measurements will be presented.

 

Depth Of A-Horizon

Since the A-horizon is also essential for plant growth (see discussion), it was important to determine the amount of A-horizon lost from the trail. As the depth of A-horizon varies for different soil types, it was not appropriate to use depth as a criteria. Instead, it was more appropriate to evaluate impact using the percentage of A-horizon lost on the trail. In this evaluation it was assumed that the depth of the A-horizon at the 1m or 9m point (4 metres from the trail centre) represented a natural and relatively undisturbed soil horizon.

A value of 20-30% loss of A horizon is considered detrimental to the growth of conventional agricultural crops (Foth, 1990). However, agricultural crops are generally not as hardy and resistant to environmental stresses as the forest species found within the study area. Therefore a level of 30% loss of A-horizon was decided through consultation with University of Guelph Soil Scientist R.A. McBride. This was deemed to be a level which would be detrimental to re-vegetation.

 

Trail Width

Our research group defined a trail as a path with less than 10% vegetative ground cover that is mostly exposed soil or rock, and a buffer as the area alongside a trail with 10-25% vegetative ground cover. This criteria was based on observation by our research group.

Trail width for this area does not need to exceed 1.5m. This can facilitate two way traffic safely. A trail width of greater than 1.5m would cause unnecessary damage to adjacent soil and vegetation. Aside from users, trail width is also influenced by the slope of the landscape and drainage.

 

Summary

The chosen criteria for the study are summarized in the following table.

TABLE A: CRITERIA SUMMARY

CRITERIA

VALUE

Bulk Density

1.6 g/cm3

Organic Matter

relative to bulk density

Loss of A-Horizon

30%

Trail Width

1.5 m.

 

 

RESULTS

The following results were obtained through the previously outlined method. In total there were 12 transect lines which allowed for 3 lines per site. Therefore site #1, the escarpment, corresponds to transects T1 to T3. Site #2, the sloped region is represented by transects T4 to T6. Site #3, classified as the swamp, is described by transects T7 to T9, and site #4, the lowland forest corresponds to transects T10 to T12 (see Appendix b).

Depth Of A-Horizon

The auger samples for each transect line were evaluated at the 1m (or 9m), 4m (or 6m), and 5m locations and the results (in centimetres) are compiled in the following table.

 

TABLE B: A-HORIZON DEPTHS (cm.)

 

T1

T2

T3

T4

T5

T6

T7

T8

T9

T10

T11

T12

1m

26.2

26.3

13.2

23.2

50.3

19.0

31.3

28.0

21.4

14.1

10.2

16.4

4m

13.0

26.6

24.4

14.6

9.6

16.3

23.4

22.1

37.3

20.5

9.1

17.5

5m*

6.5

13.1

13.0

13.4

15.1

5.1

10.5

21.6

17.5

1.0

2.3

12.0

 

*centre of trail

The bulk density figures for these transect points were then analyzed to determine the mean values in order to give a representative sampling of an average trail cross section in order to view how the impacts of recreation affect the depth of the A-horizon. This was to be examined as an indicator of the plant growth capabilities along the trail profile. Foth (1990) contends that

the effects of human traffic reduces the A-horizon layer, which holds the organic matter content of the soil. Figure 1 graphically shows that the trail (5m), which is assumed to be the area of highest use, has the shallowest A-horizon levels. In addition studies have shown that the compaction of the upper, A-horizon layer of the soil by trampling can increase the soil bulk density (Chappel et al. 1971).

 

** N.B. 5m = center of trail

1m = furthest point from centre of trail

 

 

According to these findings there was an obvious loss of A-horizon layers along areas subjected to increased traffic. In order to quantify this impact, the percentage loss for each measured point was calculated based on the preset assumption that the 1m point would represent the control. The results are contained in Table C.

 

 

 

TABLE C: LOSS OF A-HORIZON (%)

TRANSECT POINT

1m

4m

5m

A HORIZON LOSS

0*

6.4

52.7**

 

*control point

**center of trail

 

 

Bulk Density & Organic Matter

The compaction levels within the study area were quantified through the bulk density results (see Appendix d). The bulk density figures were first analyzed with respect to the relation of the transect points. The mean of the bulk densities was calculated for each measurement point (1m, 4m, 5m, 6m, 9m). The results are depicted graphically in Figure 2. Based on these results it was evident that bulk density was highest at the 5m point (trail center) which coincides with the area of highest use.

 

 

The data was then statistically analyzed to determine if there was a significant difference between the bulk densities for the transect points (see Appendix e). The test result showed that there was a significant difference between the centre of the trail (5m) and the furthest measured points (1m and 9m). However, there was not a significant difference between the centre of the trail and the adjacent points (4m and 6m). This indicated that human traffic was fairly isolated within the trail boundaries and the buffer zone.

The bulk density results were then compared to the percent organic matter content for each of the samples that had been tested for organic matter (see Appendix d). This was performed to determine if there was a correlation between the two variables. As mentioned earlier, recreation traffic can directly cause a loss of A-horizon which results in decreased organic matter. Thus, a correlation between bulk density and organic matter was derived. The relationship is displayed in Figure 3.

 

 

The results depicted in Figure 3 were divided into on trail (figure 4) and off trail (figure 5) statistics to verify that the correlation existed across the entire trail profile, and that the higher on trail compaction levels did not skew the data.

 

 

 

 

Trail Width

Trail width was used as an indicator of use levels and the severity of the impact resulting from human traffic. The widths are summarized for each transect line in Table D. In addition, a cross sectional diagram for each transect line is contained in Appendix b.

 

TABLE D: TRAIL WIDTH

 

TRANSECT LINE

T1

T2

T3

T4

T5

T6

T7

T8

T9

T10

T11

T12

TRAIL WIDTH (m)

1.03

1.10

0.97

1.10

1.90*

0.90

0.75

0.95

1.55*

1.20

0.64

1.10

 

The results show that most of the trails fall within the preset 1.5 m width criteria, with an average of 1.10 metres. The following two exception are marked with an asterisk. Transect #5 was taken on a slope, containing rocks and roots, which the group took to be the cause of the diverted traffic off the trail center. Transect #9 was measured in the swamp site. The excess water during the spring and fall months can be attributable to the increased trail width, as there was evidence that users tended to avoid the water by going off the trail perimeter.

 

 

DISCUSSION

Bulk Density

The bulk density results were statistically analyzed to determine the mean values for each of the transect coordinates (1m, 4m, 5m, 6m, 9m). Figure 2 indicated variability in the mean bulk density measurements along the trail cross section.

As was expected, the highest mean bulk density was at the center of the trail (5m). In addition Figure 2 showed that bulk density decreases as the distance from the center of the trail increases. A previous study by Rodgers (1975) on impacts of human traffic on compaction, corresponds to these findings that bulk density increases with increased traffic. However according to Wall and Wright (1977), bulk density initially has a positive correlation between increased traffic, but is likely to reach a level beyond which further compaction does not take place. Figure 6, taken from McBride (1995) graphically shows this premise for forest soils under the effects of increased traffic from logging equipment. The relationship between logging equipment and human traffic is shown to be similar in Figure 7.

 

FIGURE 6: BULK DENSITY VS. NUMBER OF PASSES

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIGURE 7: STANDING GROUND PRESSURES

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pratt (1976) contends that an increase in soil bulk density may reduce the water retention capacity so that the soil will become more easily saturated than uncompacted soil. This effect on the ability of the soil to hold water may result in puddles along the trail which prompts a lateral extension of damage as trail users will walk into the bordering vegetation to avoid puddles (Rodgers, 1975). This was not seen as an extensive problem in the Kolapore area due to the thick vegetation canopy, which was observed to act as a barrier to rain penetration to the forest floor.

The extent of the impact of compacted soil on vegetation can vary with species and soil characteristics. The effects range from momentary disturbance to death of the plant attributable to reduced organic matter content, and increased impediments to root development (Pratt, 1976) . Based on the biophysical inventories within the study areas (see site descriptions) the vegetation was predominantly hardy tree species such as cedars and maples. These are regarded as highly tolerant to environmental stress such as compaction (Pease and Williams, 1993). There were also ground level species such as ferns and wild flowers which are more susceptible to stresses.

 

Based on the preset criteria, the bulk density values (Appendix d) were found to be well below the 1.6 g/cm3 value which presents barriers to root penetration (Foth, 1990). However, in accordance with the teamís definition of a trail, the high use points (5m) were generally barren of any form of vegetation. This is thought to be the result of the trampling effects of foot and bicycle traffic on the plant parts above the soil surface rather than the reduced growth conditions from soil compaction (Cole, 1995). In contrast the vegetation along the other transect locations (1m, 4m, 6m, 9m) contained varying levels of vegetation in relation to site characteristics. There were no distinct differences in vegetation between the off site points along each of the transect lines. Therefore, it can be deduced that the compaction effects of the recreational traffic in the area is concentrated along the trail perimeters.

 

A-Horizon Depth

In addition to the soil structure change compaction can have on the soil A-horizon, organic matter was shown in Figure 3 to be inversely related to soil bulk density. Generally, as bulk density increases, percent organic matter decreases in the A-horizon. One problem in assessing this data is that there was no general bulk density rating for the various soil characteristics found in the study area. Therefore, it was difficult to determine an appropriate figure for an undisturbed site. The best approximation that the group could conclude was that the furthest measured transect points (1m and 9m) were the areas of least impact within the study site. As a result, it was assumed that the organic matter content and bulk density levels were representative of the site at these locations.

 

Based on these assumptions, Table C indicated that the average percent loss of the A-horizon at the trail center exceeded the allowable 30%. This confirms the premise that human

traffic can negatively impact the biophysical environment. However, this finding corresponds to the groupís definition that a trail has less than 10% vegetation. In addition the soil loss one meter from the trail (4m) is only 6.4%, which backs up the groups initial belief that the impacts are concentrated along the trail, which comprises a very small percentage (0.1%) of the total area within the Kolapore Uplands.

Trail Width

The average trail width throughout the study area was calculated to be 1.10 metres. This figure falls below the 1.5 metre allowable maximum set within the criteria. Therefore it is apparent from this study that the present level of use is not resulting in excessive trail widths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo 3: Typical Trail

 

Summary

The aforementioned results led the group to come to the conclusion that recreation within the Kolapore Uplands is not exceeding an acceptable level of environmental impact. The following table summarizes the average on trail findings.

TABLE E: SUMMARY OF ON TRAIL DATA

Bulk Density (g/cm3)

Loss of A-Horizon (%)

Trail Width (m)

0.96

52.7*

1.10

 

The average A-horizon loss of 52.7%* was considered to be acceptable for an on trail value as the definition of a trail dictates very little (<10%) vegetation. In addition the study presented evidence to show that the A-horizon levels adjacent to the trail edge were well within the acceptable loss value.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MANAGEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS

Carrying capacity can be defined as the level of recreation which an area can sustain without an unacceptable degree of deterioration in the character and quality of the resource or the experience (Wall and Wright, 1977). It represents a threshold beyond which further changes to the physical and biological environment will adversely affect recreational quality (Mackintosh, 1978). Carrying capacity should be defined by management objectives considering acceptable levels of impact or how much change is acceptable. Realistic management objectives for the Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area would be to accommodate all users, to restrict traffic in highly sensitive areas, to keep users on the trails and to improve damaged areas or areas of concern. Acceptable levels of impact are those suggested in the criteria.

In the opinion of our research team, the Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area is currently being well managed. However, management is a continuous process that requires constant monitoring, and is something that always leaves room for improvement. Effective management approaches can manipulate users or the environment or both.

Currently, many of the Kolapore trails are marked with orange triangles that are nailed into trees. These become a problem as the nails create scars in the tree, decrease tree value, create wounds for disease to enter, and are a potential hazard to operators when the tree is cut. According to James Faught (1996), it is already a mandate that these markers be removed and be replaced with paint blazes by November 1996.

Forest resources are presently being managed using improvement cut methods. This involves removing dead, diseased or poor quality trees. Once this is done the forest should continue to be

thinned in order to diversify tree species and enhance wildlife habitat. This is already being practiced in the area designated as the Kolapore Uplands Demonstration Forest.

Vegetation can be managed in several ways. Options include planting resistant species, trample tolerant grasses or applying mulches to modify the microclimate to facilitate seed establishment. However, there is no guarantee of germination, and in heavily used areas the regeneration process is very slow. Revegetation also has the risk of introducing foreign species and altering the existing ecosystem. The Kolapore management objectives are only to minimize environmental stresses, and not to reclaim the trail areas. Thus, such revegetation practices are not required, as the study presented that the impacts are focused on the trail. Present forest management practices such as thinning are beneficial in that the removal of trees opens up the canopy allowing greater light penetration and the establishment of less tolerant vegetation. However, thinning the canopy would allow more rain water to reach the forest floor, which may result in soil erosion along the trail network.

More (1980) states that trails will continue to widen with use, but only to a certain maximum width, which is when all users can be accommodated. There are several methods available for restricting trail width, such as the use of physical or vegetative barriers. However, the Kolapore trails are on average below the maximum allowable width, and the area impacted by the trails is minimal. Therefore, the use of barriers at the present time is not warranted, and would likely create more disruptions than benefits.

Trail rotation is a method used by some recreation managers. In theory, impact is supposed to be minimized by alternating use between two trails, allowing one area to regenerate while the other is in use. Studies have shown that the greatest impact is caused by the first pass over an area, and each subsequent pass has less of an impact on soil bulk density. At Kolapore, the existing trails cover a

relatively small portion of the entire area (0.1 %). Therefore, a rotation system would require creating new trails unnecessarily, with no guarantee of old or existing trail regeneration. Thus, trail rotation is not a feasible option, as the present level of use falls within the acceptable levels.

In order to minimize environmental impacts to the site, use should be restricted in the ecologically sensitive areas. More specifically, recreation in the wet areas such as the swamp and marsh (site #3) should be prohibited during the wet season or when the ground is not frozen. Kolapore presently has this area designated as winter use only. However, this is only a guideline and is not strictly enforced. In addition to wet areas, slopes are sensitive to erosion, especially during periods of heavy rainfall. Water runoff takes the path of least resistance, which tends to be a trail, carrying soil particles with it. It is recommended that use be restricted in such areas, but in addition users could be educated about these environmental hazards. For example, a sign or pamphlet explaining these issues and why certain sensitive areas must be avoided would instill a sense of environmental responsibility into users.

Not all slopes can be avoided, so another recommended management practice is the use of water bars on areas of the trail with significant slope. This is a small rut lined with stones or a log that is cut into the trail at a diagonal. Water will move down the slope and be intercepted at these bars and run off to the side of the trail. This method has been used with much success on the Appalachian Trail in the USA and the East Coast Trail in Newfoundland (Paul, 1996).

The impact by recreational users at the campsite was an area of concern. This location is primarily used by climbers who visit Kolapore for the weekend and pitch their tents here. In this area there was no vegetative undergrowth and mechanical damage to trees, for example by beer caps implanted into tree trunks. The surrounding wooded areas were heavily scavenged for firewood causing excessive trampling in off-trail areas, and the removal of branches altering nutrient cycling patterns. In addition, there were large amounts of garbage left throughout the main camping area, and in surrounding areas the woods were scattered with toilet paper and human waste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo 4: Human Impact On The Camping Area

 

It is critical that users be made aware of how unacceptable such practices are, warned of the possible fines for dumping on crown land, and be informed of the proper practices which they should be following. Unfortunately this is a critical concern for the management of the area, as it is understood that the area be kept as natural as possible, and not warrant a user fee. However, a fee system similar to the Ontario snowmobile network may have to be implemented.

Kolapore is being well managed in that the impacts of recreational use are below the carrying capacity of the area as defined by our criteria and assumptions. Trail maintenance by the University of

Toronto Outing Club and volunteers is greatly assisting in the upkeep of the area. It is recommended that user awareness and education be an area of focus in the future to improve upon management practices. Users who understand more about the area around them and how to treat it are more likely to do so properly, thus assisting in minimizing unnecessary environmental stress.

When considering management practices, it is important to recognize the limitations of this study both in time and space. Temporally, management assessment should take place over a longer period of time, as well as during different seasons of the year. Spatially, it is necessary to conduct a study over a large area, keeping in mind that changes exist over larger systems that are interconnected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

The impact of recreation use within the Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area is minimal, and the site is currently being managed such that the natural components are not being excessively stressed. Recreation is an appropriate land use for the area because the natural features of the area such as the topography, rock formations and vegetation species make it attractive to outdoor enthusiasts. These features, as well as features defined by the Canada Land Inventory make the area unsuitable for alternative uses such as agriculture and forestry. At Kolapore, recreation can be seen as a tool for conservation in that it fosters an appreciation of the natural environment, allowing for a balance between preservation and use.

 

 

REFERENCES

Agriculture Canada (1981). Soils of Grey County: North Sheet, Ontario. Agriculture Canada.

 

Canada Land Inventory (1971). Agriculture Map: Bruce 41A.

 

Canada Land Inventory (1971). Forestry Map: Bruce 41A.

 

Canada Land Inventory (1971). Recreation Map: Bruce 41A.

 

Chappel, H., Ainsworth, J., Cameron, R. and M. Redfern, (1971). The Effect of Trampling on a Chalk Grassland, Journal of Applied Ecology. 8(2), 869-882.

 

Cole, D. N. (1995). Experimental Trampling of Vegetation. I. Relationship Between Trampling Intensity and Vegetation Response, Journal of Applied Ecology. 32(2), 203-214

Faught, J. (1996). Personal Communication, Stewardship Coordinator, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

 

Foth, H.D. (1990). Fundamentals of Soil Science. Toronto: Wiley Publishers.

 

MacKintosh E. (1979). The Impact of Recreation on Vegetation and Soils in Rushing River Provincial Park, Ontario. Guelph: University of Guelph and the Great Lakes Forest Research Centre, Canadian Forestry Service, Department of the Environment and Provincial Parks Branch and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

 

McBride, R.A. (1996). Personal Communication, University of Guelph, Department of Land Resource Science.

 

McBride, R.A. (1995). Land Utilization Course Notes. Guelph: University of Guelph, Department of Land Resource Science.

 

More, T. (1980). Trial Deterioration as an Indicator of Trail Use in Urban Forest Recreation Areas. Pennnsylvania: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Research Note NE-292.

 

Paul D. (1996). Personal Communication. East Coast Trail Association.

 

Pratt, R.. (1976). The Ecological Impacts of Recreation in Natural Environments, Toronto: York University.

Pease and Williams (1993). Introduction to Farm Forestry. Guelph: University of Guelph, Department of Environmental Biology.

 

 

REFERENCES CONíT.

 

Rodgers, G.K., (1975) Recreation in Natural Environments: An Examination of Impacts and the Concept of Carrying Capacity, Toronto: York University, 1975.

 

University Of Toronto Outing Club. (1996). Kolapore Trail News. Toronto: University of Toronto.

 

University Of Toronto Outing Club. (1994). Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Ski Trails. Toronto: University of Toronto.

 

Wall, G. (1989). Outdoor Recreation In Canada. Toronto: Wiley Publishers.

 

Wall, G. and C. Wright. (1977). The Environmental Impact of Outdoor Recreation. Waterloo: University of Waterloo, Department of Geography Publication, series No. 11.