Recreation Focus Groups Provide Valuable Information for Recreation Planning!
OSU College of Forestry graduate student Elspeth Gustavson, supported by Dr. Christine Olsen and Recreation Manager Ryan Brown, is conducting a research study to help us thoughtfully plan future improvements to the College Forests’ recreation program by collaborating with visitors to describe what you would like to see in the future.
In May, we conducted a series of focus groups with hikers and dog walkers, trail runners, mountain bikers, equestrians, and hunters and gathered some really amazing information. Over the summer and early fall, Elspeth analyzed the results and produced a summary report of those findings.
We have recently started the next phase of this effort; to turn the long list of interests, concerns and ideas into a clear set of recommendations from College Forests visitors. The College Forests Recreation Collaborative recently met for the first time. This group consists of community representatives of each recreation user group, and will meet on a regular basis in November and December to develop a product to share with the rest of the community. Recommendations from this group will be posted on-line for your review and feedback early in 2014.
What will we do with all of this information? Well, a couple of things…
1.) In 2014 and 2015, a detailed recreation plan will be completed for the College Forests. The College of Forestry faculty and staff will apply program goals to this comprehensive set of visitor recommendations to come up with a strategic recreation plan. For example, they may integrate College of Forestry education and outreach goals into the action items, or they may evaluate certain recommendations for how they impact cultural heritage sites or future forest management activities.
2.) In the meantime, there are quite a few ‘simple fixes’ brought up by folks in all of the focus groups that we can get started on right away. For example, each focus group expressed a strong desire to know more about what is happening on the College Forests. A quarterly newsletter will therefore be posted on this website (sign up to receive it directly by emailing Ryan Brown at ). Other examples include the development of an education and interpretation plan, as well as testing various methods to reduce the slick surfaces of our trail bridges.
For more information about this project, contact:
Community Engaged Recreation Planning on College Forests: An Oregon case study
Elspeth A. Gustavson, Christine S. Olsen (Principal Investigator), & Ryan N.K. Brown