I implemented the IVUMF at West Asheville Park.
1) Use areas are capable of sustaining recreation visitors while also conserving the surrounding water, soil, vegetation and wildlife
2) Accurate, high quality visitor information is available through multiple sources, including electronic media and on-site information boards, to enhance the visitor experience.
Indicators and Thresholds:
From there, I would not establish final indicators and thresholds without a research team because I support the IVUMC’s initiative to screen potential indicators (National Park Service). In this step, the agencies state that professional experience, interdisciplinary input, and best available science should play a role in screening potential indicators (National Park Service). Even simply by declaring the desired conditions, I can suggest specific tactics that would enhance conditions at the park.
In order to achieve the goals that I outlined, I recommend West Asheville Park managers use Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York as a model and accordingly take action. First of all, the Prospect Park Alliance (PPA), a non-profit organization founded in 1987 that works in partnership with the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation to care for Prospect Park, was inspired by a grant to design the ravine section of the park (DiCicco 2014). It reminds me of the stream restoration project the non-profit RiverLink is conducting at West Asheville Park. I figure that generating extra grant money that would enable RiverLink to allocate more resources towards its initiative would only enhance the management activity there. Perhaps, it would pay for establishing clear native plant project boundaries and providing visitors with information about the project’s logic so that they would be motivated to stay off the off-trail terrain.
Another crucial factor that contributed to success at Prospect Park is that managers carefully planned the staff that would be required to actualize its vision (DiCicco 2014). Considering lack of enforcement is a major shortcoming at West Asheville Park, outlining the amount and types of staff that would be necessary to achieve the desired conditions is useful. From there, proper monitoring can take place that particularly tracks which of the installed native plant species are thriving in the given location (DiCicco 2014). Then, managers can adjust the stream restoration actions to align with the data.
Establishing policies can also help make desired conditions more realistic. By applying a fee to littering or stepping within the native plant project grounds, West Asheville Park management can decrease the likelihood of violations. Further, a public population that is informed about why the policies are in place would be more inclined to spread the word to other visitors which would decrease the need for official enforcement personnel and increase the chance of desired conditions being realistic.
Finally, it is essential management considers the importance of adapting to a community’s changing vision, needs and priorities (Parks and Recreation Master Planning). Specifically, in the case of West Asheville Park, the local government needs to develop a public engagement plan to identify who to involve, how to conduct outreach, and what public involvement opportunities should be included throughout the planning process (Parks and Recreation Master Planning). Some strategies include workshops, focus groups, surveys and interviews (Parks and Recreation Master Planning). To uphold the Freedom of Information Act and to achieve my second desired condition, all of the public involvement opportunities need to be well-advertised to the people (Parks and Recreation Master Planning). Doing so would increase the sense of community ownership which is essential to improve conditions at West Asheville Park.
DiCicco, Jessica. 2014. “Long-Term Urban Park Ecological Restoration: A Case Study of Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York”. Ecological Restoration. 32(3): 314-326. https://www-jstor-org.du.idm.oclc.org/stable/43441668?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
Comment by Fenton Kay:
Great post, mary. I think you have dotted the i’s and cross the t’s. A very solid outline for what sounds like a very effective plan.
Thank you for the support!
Comment by Neisa McMillin:
It sounds like you’ve accomplished the primary objectives of the final project and outlined a clear and feasible framework for proposing your project. You’re wise in considering and suggesting potential funding options such as grant proposals to help achieve desired conditions. I also like your idea of imposing a littering fine to help discourage visitors from inappropriately discarding wastes. You also highlight the importance of community inclusion, which may also foster community stewardship. Educational signage is an excellent means of conveying the importance of adhering to park guidelines and fostering community stewardship. Learning about an area’s natural resources is often a high point of visitor visits; I have more than often witnessed visitors enjoying the information presented on cultural history, geologic processes, and wildlife characteristics of a particular area.
Best of luck to you in your future endeavors.
National Park Service. “Interagency Visitor Use Management Council.” Accessed May 31 2021. https://visitorusemanagement.nps.gov
YouTube. Parks and Recreation Master Planning. Accessed May 2 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=i2-sIM2F_Mw