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Non Dual Bliss
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I talked to Roxanne Hernandez, the JCOS Planner Analyst, and she was nice enough to fax me a copy of the "Comparative Analysis of JCOS Parks for the Survey Period 2001-2003" which has a bunch of interesting info/statistics on the different JCOS parks, their users, and conflict information. The entire report is about 18-pages long.

The user statistics compiled for the report were collected randomly at trail heads for the JCOS parks over 4-hour periods at 15 parks during the May 1 to Sept 30 heavy use season from 2001 to 2003. Since not all the parks were sampled during the same season, it's hard to compare park to park but the info is still relevant.

In 2001 the following parks were surveyed:
Apex, Elk Meadow, Mount Falcon, White Ranch, Mathew Winters

Aldefer/Three Sisters, Deer Creek Canyon, Meyer Ranch, Windy Saddle, Lair o' the Bear and Mathew Winters again but only on weekends as they didn't capture weekend data for MW in 2001.

Reynolds, Crown Hill, Pine Valley Ranch, South Valley, Van Bibber.

Overall the sampled parks the percentage distribution of activity is as follows:
Hiking - 57.9%
MTB - 33.9%
Wildlife Viewing - 15.3%
Running/Jogging - 14.8%
Picnicking - 7.8%
Camping - 7%I
Other - 6%
Fishing - 2.8%
Horseback Riding - 0.7%

It's important to keep in mind this is the OVERALL percentages and some of the parks sampled are urban or seem predominantly hiker-only though I don’t know if or how this affects the sampling. Also, people were allowed to indicate more than one activity which can cloud the percentages. I find it interesting that horseback riding is way off the back on the user distribution at only 0.7%, being well behind the 6% of the “other” category which in my experience is probably fully populated by the people having sex in the parking lot or off the trails…maybe it’s just me and the fact that I often ride at odd hours but I’ve stumbled across a number of people playing “hide the weenie” at JCOS parks, most notably the picnic table at the top of Falcon, but I digress….

I found the activity distribution at the individual parks more telling. Here’s the MTB %’s only:
Apex – 60.2%
White Ranch – 56.3%
Alderfer/3Sisters – 46.8%
Matthews/Winters – 43.2%
Deer Creek – 37.1%
Elk Meadow – 35.6%
Windy Saddle – 33.3%
Falcon – 30.9%
South Valley – 19.8%
Lair Bear – 19.6%
Meyers – 18.6%
Pine Valley Ranch – 7.9%
Crown Hill – 7.9%
Van Bibber – 7.2%
Reynolds – 5.4%

Some of the places aren't really MTB “destinations” and I figure the low numbers for Pine Valley Ranch sampling must not include all the MTB’ers who use it as starting point for Buffalo Creek rides. Dunno, but the PVR numbers seem WAY low based on my experiences there. Some of the other places I haven't even heard of.

The area I find most interesting is “User Conflict.” “User conflict” is defined is “the presence or behavior of others that can interfere with one’s enjoyment.” Pretty straightforward and as I’d expect. Conflict quotes from the report:

“70.8% of the visitors who experienced conflict indicated that was because of the discourteous behavior of others”
“57.4% indicated that it was due to the reckless behavior of other visitors.”
“45.7% due to the presence of different user types.”
“39.8% to the impacts left behind by visitors.”
“33.8% due to THE MERE PRESENCE OF OTHER VISITORS.” – the emphasis is mine but the quote is JCOS’.

So it appears that a lot of the conflict is caused other folks using the facilities or using them in a different manner than the complainant's!

The % visitors having reported conflict by trail with about a 3% margin of error (my estimate):
Crown Hill – 12.3%
Apex – 11.8%
Matthews/Winters – 10.1%
Elk Meadow – 8.8%
Lair Bear – 7.9%
Deer Creek – 7.6%
Pine Valley – 7.4%
Alderfer/Sisters – 7.4%
Mount Falcon – 6.9%
White Ranch – 6.3
Van Bibber – 6.2%
Windy Saddle – 6.2%
Meyer Ranch – 5.5%
South Valley – 4%
Reynolds – 1.9%

The report states that overall conflict reports have declined since 1995. The report did not break down the root cause of the conflict or which user group the offending party belonged to, i.e., biker, hiker, horse, or folks having a nooner.

IMO, that’s the meat of the report. If you’d like to know more or see the report through your own eyes rather than mine, contact Roxanne at JCOS at 303.271.5937 and she’ll get a copy of the report to you. I requested that they post the report on the JCOS website, but don’t know if it will happen.
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