Since early 2015, the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation (BBVTF) has been working with Ian Crano (San Diego State University MS Thesis 2016), and his advisor Alicia Kinoshita, an Assistant Professor at San Diego State University in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering to develop a Recreational Trail Assessment using computer based modeling (Crano Thesis available here). To date, there have been two papers released that directly address the assessment of trails in the Big Bear area.
Predicting Ecosystem Impacts From Recreational Trails In The San Bernardino National Forest
Crano’s thesis is “Based on a network of existing trails located within the San Bernardino National Forest near Big Bear Lake, California, this research is provided as a case study to develop a tool to assesses the impacts of recreational trails to surrounding ecology and geomorphology. The results of this study minimize the need for field-based surveys and data that can often be impractical, time intensive, expensive, and inconsistent due to variability in personnel experience, objective analysis, and training. A simple Geographic Information System (GIS) based spatial analysis is developed to predict high impact trail segments without field-based information. “
Developing a GIS-based Trail Risk and Ecosystem Evaluation (TREE) Method in the San Bernardino National Forest
- TREE minimizes the need for field based surveys and data that can often be impractical, time intensive, expensive, and inconsistent due to variability in personnel experience, objective analysis, and training to improve the efficiency and accuracy of managing and implementing trail systems.
- TREE can be widely applied to assess ecosystem impacts of existing and proposed trail systems not only in the San Bernardino National Forest, but also for a variety of land covers, geomorphic characteristics, regions, climates, and recreation types. This is critical for planning sustainable trail systems under climate change and managing increasing recreational demands.
Crano et al. (in review)
Continued Development of Field Assessment Model
Crano and Kinoshita continue to work with the BBVTF. The scope of work includes:
- Work with BBVTF to review current proposed model and results of sample areas, solicit feedback, and modify procedures to provide optimal results.
- Present preliminary model to the USFS to ensure that modeling is in line with project goals. Adjust model as necessary.
- Work with BBVTF and use model to assess entire proposed trail network; it’s estimated that there are 8 additional areas. BBVTF will continue to supply field data to be used in interpretation of results.
- Analyze and summarize findings for submission to USFS as supporting environmental documents for Big Bear Non-Motorized Recreational Trail Network Plan.
See more here: http://akinoshita.weebly.com/research.html
Why Are These Assessment Models Important?
“Good” and “Bad” trails can be highly subjective and subject to many different interpretations. Using a scientific based assessment model allows us to understand, in an objective fashion, the relative impacts of different trail routes in our area. This knowledge can be used as we choose which routes to include, and not include, in our trail network plan submission to the USFS.