ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve
Research to gather visitor use data to inform visitor management at ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve
The overall purpose of this research is to gather visitor-based data necessary to better understand and manage visitor use at ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve (ACE Basin). Due to significant growth in the surrounding counties and the reserve’s proximity to the cities of Charleston and Beaufort, the ACE Basin’s lands and waterways are being increasingly used for recreation. The increased visitor use, however, may lead to impacts on the visitor experience and on the natural resources. In this research we use empirical information and baseline data, collected through rigorous social science procedures, to help managers deliberately plan for and manage visitor use while protecting the reserve’s natural resources and the quality of visitors’ experiences.
Specific objectives include the following:
- Provide insight into visitor use, visitor attitudes, and visitor perceptions of social and resource impacts
- Determine indicators and thresholds for the visitors’ experiences
- Explore visitor attitudes towards potential management alternatives
- Assess recreation-related impacts to key resources at sites of concern
- Collect information on visitor use levels and distributions throughout the ACE Basin and how they overlap with key environmental areas and processes
The data gathered in this project will enable managers and decision makers to better understand and manage visitor use at ACE Basin. Additionally, it will help inform and guide visitor use management decisions and all future monitoring of the area to proactively protect both the visitor experience and the key resources. Project Deliverables include: an interim technical report in the form of a PowerPoint presentation, a draft final technical report, an electronic version and ten hard copies of the final technical report, and GIS layers representing visitation and how it overlaps with key environmental processes.