British Columbia Ministry of Forests

RECREATION MANUAL


Chapter 1: The Recreation Program

1.1 Introduction
1.2 Mission Statement
1.3 Program Goals
1.4 Program Structure

1.4.1 Program Management
1.4.2 Resource Management
1.4.3 Use Management
1.4.4 Landscape Management
1.4.5 Wilderness Management

1.5 References

Figures

1 Who's Who in Recreation Management in B.C.
2 Recreation Program Structure

1.1 Introduction

British Columbia -
A World-Class Recreation Resource

British Columbia is renowned for its outdoor recreation opportunities. Its unparalleled scenic landscapes, vast tracts of wilderness, rugged mountains and extensive freshwater and marine waterways are known world-wide.

British Columbia is richly endowed in a wide variety of flora and fauna, and is envied for its sport-fishing, wildlife viewing and hunting opportunities.

There is more variety of climate and landform in British Columbia than in any other Canadian province. This diversity of landforms, topography and climate gives rise to its extraordinary mosaic of biogeoclimatic zones, which range from temperate rainforests to true northern desert, and from tundra to boreal forests and subalpine wildflower meadows richly carpeting the mountainsides.

To these spectacular biophysical features are added the unique cultural and heritage values of its native peoples and early settlers.

In short, British Columbia contains world-class recreation resources.

Land status in British Columbia

land status in British Columbia

British Columbia has a total land and freshwater area of about 95,000,000 hectares. Of this total, about 6% is private land (e.g., settlements, fee simple timber holdings), about 2% is federal Crown land (e.g., national parks and Indian reserves), about 6% is provincial Crown land committed to specific uses (e.g., provincial parks, hydroelectric transmission line rights-of-way), about 1% is uncommitted provincial Crown lands, and the remaining approximately 85% is Provincial Forest.

Of the provincial total, about 51% was estimated (as of 1984) to be accessed, developed or otherwise "roaded" lands, and 49% was estimated to be primitive, natural, backcountry, undeveloped or otherwise "non-roaded" lands.

Of the Provincial Forest lands, about 52% are classified as non-forest, 20% as non-commercial forest and 28% as commercial forest.

These Provincial Forest lands are multiple-use public forest and range lands which are managed by the Ministry of Forests for a mosaic of uses under the guiding philosophy of integrated resource management.

The Ministry of Forests recreation program (in concert with a number of other recreation programs) is responsible for recreation management on these Provincial Forest lands (and other provincial Crown lands outside of parks and settlements).

Recreation and the MoF Recreation Program

Recreation management textbooks define recreation as "any mental or physical revitalization," and as "the voluntary pursuit of leisure time." Outdoor recreation is recreation that takes place out of doors, and forest recreation takes place in a forest or wildland setting.

The MoF recreation program is designed to protect the natural wildland recreation values of the province, including visual aesthetics and wilderness, and to enhance public enjoyment through the management of road and trail access, and recreation facilities.

Historical Development

The current MoF recreation program had its origin in 1939, when a Parks Division was established within the B.C. Forest Service to manage public recreation on B.C.'s Crown lands.

In 1956, this Parks Division was moved to a newly created Ministry of Recreation and Conservation, and given the mandate to manage only those lands within Provincial Parks. This left the majority of B.C.'s public lands without formal recreation management.

In 1971, after a lapse of 15 years, the B.C. Forest Service was directed to resume a role in recreation management. It established a recreation program to address the need for recreation management on B.C.'s Crown lands outside of parks and settled areas.

The initial priorities of that program were to:

  • build facilities to address the safety and sanitation problems that had developed in areas with high recreation values (e.g., lakeshores) where public recreational use tended to concentrate
  • develop forest landscape management principles and practices to address the rising public concern over the visual and aesthetic impacts of timber harvesting on B.C.'s scenic landscapes

In 1978, new forest and range legislation established the Ministry of Forests, and established recreation as one of the Ministry's three primary resource management mandates, along with timber and range resources. This legislation emphasized the need for and expanded the role of the MoF recreation program to include all aspects of recreation resource management (i.e., ensuring that recreation values are considered in land use and resource management decisions), as well as recreation use management (i.e., informing the public of recreation opportunities, providing recreation facilities and otherwise managing the recreational use of forest lands).

In 1987, forest legislation was amended to recognize wilderness as a distinct resource and a legitimate land use. This focused attention on the need for the MoF to manage all Provincial Forest lands (not just the 28% having commercial timber values), and the need for the MoF recreation program to manage for the full spectrum of recreation opportunities (i.e., non-roaded, as well as roaded lands).

The historical development of the MoF recreation program, particularly the period between 1956 and 1971, highlights that all lands (not just parks) have recreational value. As long as there is public right of access to and recreational use of public forest lands (as is the case in B.C.), there is the need for recreation management of all lands (not just parks).

Evolutionary Developments and Current Trends

This historical development also highlights a number of evolutionary developments and current trends in the MoF recreation program. They can be summarized as follows:

  • the shift from an emphasis on recreation use management to a balanced consideration of recreation use and recreation resource management
  • the shift from a focus on managing roaded recreation opportunities to a focus on managing for the full spectrum of recreation opportunities
  • the shift from reactive to proactive management of recreation use management problems (i.e., from the development of facilities in response to safety and sanitation problems to the development and maintenance of a province-wide network of sites and trails)
  • the expansion (around 1980) from a primarily spring/summer/fall recreation program to an all-season program
  • the changing perception from recreation as an activity in need of facilities, to recreation as a resource in need of resource-based opportunities
  • the increasing role of public involvement in all aspects of resource management and the increasing importance of communication in recreation management
  • the emergence of commercial recreation (tourism) as a major sector of the British Columbia economy
  • the increasing complexity of recreation management, the increasing number of recreation management programs and the need for greater inter-agency communication and cooperation
  • the continual, and continuing, expansion of the scope and responsibilities of the MoF recreation program (from initial responsibilities in site and trail management to a fully fledged resource management program with responsibilities in forest landscape management, recreation corridor management, wilderness management, recreation inventory, recreation analysis, recreation brochures, interpretive forests, liaison between public and commercial recreation interests, etc.)
  • evolving social values and expectations, and changing needs and priorities for recreation management
Program Benefits

The MoF recreation program is largely and primarily an amenity resources program. The benefits of this program, however, range from intangible, non-use, non-market social benefits to indirect and direct economic benefits and further, to general and specific operational considerations in the delivery of a number of Ministry and non-Ministry programs.

Recreation uses, demands and values are discussed in Chapter 7. However, the various benefits that are attributable to the MoF recreation program can be categorized and summarized as follows:

Social benefits

The underlying and primary benefit of the MoF recreation program is the maintenance of forest and wildland recreation opportunities.

This includes the maintenance of non-use opportunities (i.e., option, existence and bequest values), as well as use opportunities (i.e. personal satisfaction and enrichment).

It also includes the maintenance of opportunities for the full spectrum of recreation experiences (from primitive to rural) and the appreciation of the broad range of recreation features, resources and values (visual, cultural, etc.).

Economic benefits

The major economic benefits of the MoF recreation program are:

  • increased mental and physical health, fitness and productivity of the population and work force
  • maintenance of the resource base for much of British Columbia's $3 billion tourism industry
  • greater social acceptability (and hence viability) of timber harvesting activities which support British Columbia's $12 billion forest products industry (i.e., the public relations aspect of the recreation program)
  • employment through recreation projects funded by the Ministry and non-Ministry agencies

Operational benefits

Some of the operational benefits of the MoF recreation program are:

  • amelioration of losses due to human-caused wildfires
  • amelioration of vandalism of forest industry equipment (estimated at $35,000,000 annually)
  • reduction in liability risks to the Crown (by addressing safety and sanitation problems associated with unregulated recreational use)
  • reduction in environmental degradation by unregulated recreational use (e.g., soil erosion, soil compaction, vegetation damage, deterioration of water quality)
Administrative Environment

In British Columbia, recreation management is fragmented among numerous agencies and groups, and spans all levels of government. The extent and degree of this fragmentation is illustrated in Figure 1, which identifies the various players (agencies, groups, etc.) that are involved in outdoor recreation in B.C.

"Outdoor recreation" as used in Figure 1, includes all promotional, resource management and use management activities in public and commercial outdoor recreation. It includes wilderness, landscape, fish, wildlife and heritage values; the spectrum of roaded and non-roaded outdoor recreation activities and experiences; and developed recreation facilities, such as campsites and trails. It does not include indoor or urban recreation (municipal facilities, organized sports, hotels, destination resorts, etc.) or the direct or indirect health and fitness aspects of recreation.

This multi-agency setting, and the sometimes duplicating and often complementary roles of the various recreation programs, is an overriding context, perspective and administrative reality of the MoF recreation program. It is, therefore, incumbent upon recreation staff to understand and appreciate this multi-agency setting, and to carry out their duties as one of many interacting recreation managers in order to optimize the total recreation management package that is delivered to the client (namely, the public).

Also, this multi-agency setting emphasizes the need for good communication and cooperation between agencies and ongoing efforts to clarify individual agency roles. To this end, a comprehensive review of the MoF recreation program is planned (Section 3.4).

Manual Purpose

The purpose of this manual is to outline and document the MoF recreation program for the information and guidance of MoF staff. This manual, therefore, provides a comprehensive, though not exhaustive, description of the recreation program. This includes the program's mission, objectives and outputs, and its authorities, policies and procedures.

This manual is the primary documentation of all procedures, responsibilities, standards and guidelines pertaining to the MoF recreation program. It is also a key training document for concepts and principles of recreation management, and for the techniques and practices for carrying out the various technical functions of the recreation program.

This manual is intended to serve as an umbrella description and documentation of the recreation program and provide the framework for any further description of individual program components (e.g., forest landscape management, wilderness management, facility and structure standards) which may be developed.

This manual will be reviewed and revised on a regular basis as required and as resources permit.

Manual Contents

The contents of this manual are as follows:

  • The remainder of this chapter sets out the mission, goals, administrative structure and specific outputs of the recreation program.
  • Chapters 2 and 3 identify and summarize the statutory authorities and policy directions for the recreation program.
  • Chapter 4 examines the interlocking processes that make up the core of program management, and establishes the procedures and responsibilities for administration and management of the recreation program.
  • Chapter 5 discusses the broad subject areas of communication and training, and identifies the specific communication and training activities and projects associated with the recreation program.
  • Chapters 6 through 8 provide technical overviews of and establish the procedures and responsibilities for some key underlying functions of the recreation program. These are recreation inventory (Chapter 6), recreation analysis (Chapter 7) and recreation planning, including recreation referrals (Chapter 8).
  • Chapters 9 through 14 provide technical overviews of and establish the procedures and responsibilities for some key components of the recreation program. These are recreation site and trail management (Chapters 9 and 10), forest landscape management (Chapter 11), wilderness management (Chapter 12), cave/karst management (Chapter 13) and recreation corridor management (Chapter 14).
  • Appendices 1 through 6 cover additional specific program functions. There are forms and posters (Appendix 1), recreation structure standards (Appendix 2), contract administration (Appendix 3), non-Ministry funding (Appendix 4), recreation site and trail designation (Appendix 5) and signs (Appendix 6).

Each chapter has a list of references, including those referred to in the manual and additional references.

This manual also contains a glossary, which identifies acronyms and defines technical terms.

Manual Organization

This manual is organized to facilitate the retrieval of information. A complete table of contents is found at the beginning of the manual. The number and title of each chapter (or appendix) is listed on the chapter separator, and within each chapter there is a chapter-specific table of contents and listing of figures and tables.

Each chapter is developed in first- and second-level sections. For instance, Chapter 4 (Recreation Program Management) has seven major (first-level) sections (4.1 Introduction, 4.2 Overview, 4.3 Program Management Plans, etc.). Within these major sections there may be sub-sections (second-level) of information (e.g., Section 4.4 Budget Submissions is subdivided into 4.4.1 Procedures and Responsibilities and 4.4.2 Formats).

Major figures and tables are listed on the chapter-specific table of contents and presented on a separate page. Smaller figures and tables, such as pie charts and some flow charts and graphs, which are used to clarify textual information, are considered part of the text and are not listed on the chapter-specific table of contents.

Information in the manual has been set out in a three-column format. Most of the textual information is found in the centre and right columns, while titles or "clues to the reader" are located in the left column of the page. A vertical line separates these types of information.

The bold italics references in the left-hand column are major headings for information within the text; sub-headings are in regular italics. Definitions or "notes to the reader," which are optional material, are also found in the left-hand column in smaller italics.

References are found at the end of each chapter, and a glossary is located at the end of the manual.

This manual is structured around chapters which represent the key functional modules that deal with recreation management and the recreation program (e.g., recreation inventory, forest landscape management, wilderness management).

This is done in order to facilitate updating the manual (i.e., individual chapters can be revised with minimum impact on other chapters) and to maximize the lifespan of the manual as currently laid out (i.e., basic program functions tend to remain intact despite administrative changes).

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1.2 Mission Statement

The recreation program of the Ministry of Forests has a two-fold mission: to provide the opportunity for recreation experiences and benefits by protecting the Provincial Forest recreation resource, and to manage the use of the Provincial Forest recreation resource.

  • This mission recognizes that the goal of recreation management is the provision of opportunities for satisfactory recreational experiences.
  • This mission recognizes a dual role of recreation resource management (protection of present and future recreation values) and recreation use management (provision of safe, sanitary, socially acceptable and environmentally sound recreational use).
  • This mission is carried out within the context of the Ministry's overall integrated resource management mandate and in cooperation with the recreation programs of other government agencies, public groups and the private sector.
  • This mission extends to the Crown lands of the province outside parks and settled areas.
  • The Provincial Forest recreation resource encompasses the full spectrum of recreation values and opportunities, including scenic landscapes, wilderness, cultural and heritage landmarks, and developed recreation facilities.
  • The Provincial Forest recreation resource has both social and economic significance. It provides mental and physical revitalization to the public at large and is the resource base for multi-billion dollar provincial economies.

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1.3 Program Goals

The recreation program has specific goals for each of its five activities: program management, resource management, use management, landscape management and wilderness management.

Program Management

To administer an efficient and effective recreation program by:

  • establishing and maintaining program goals and direction
  • developing and maintaining recreation policy and procedures
  • providing supervision, advice and extension services
  • maintaining trained and qualified staff
  • monitoring program delivery
  • carrying out special projects as directed
Resource Management

To identify, protect and manage the Provincial Forest recreation resource by:

  • assessing the use, demand and value of forest recreation
  • maintaining an inventory of the recreation resource
  • establishing the Ministry's recreation resource management goals
  • ensuring that recreation (including landscape and wilderness) values are considered in resource management decisions
Use Management

To manage the public's use of the Provincial Forest recreation resource by:

  • educating and informing the public about recreation opportunities and the impacts of recreation use on other forest resources
  • developing and maintaining a network of recreation sites and trails
  • planning and managing commercial and non-commercial recreation use
  • assisting the Ministry in explaining and discussing integrated resource management with the public
  • enforcing recreation management policy and procedures
Landscape Management

To retain or enhance forest landscape values in keeping with the concepts and principles of integrated resource management by:

  • identifying, classifying and recording visual resources and values
  • identifying desirable or acceptable levels of landscape alteration
  • establishing visual quality objectives for managing visual resources and values
  • developing design solutions for meeting visual quality objectives
  • assisting in the implementation of design solutions
  • monitoring achieved visual conditions relative to approved visual quality objectives
  • carrying out research and development in forest landscape management
  • applying forest landscape management throughout the recreation program
Wilderness Management

To maintain and protect wilderness resources in keeping with the concepts and principles of integrated resource management by:

  • assessing the use, demand and value of wilderness
  • developing and maintaining an inventory of BC's wilderness resources
  • identifying and assessing wilderness resources, administratively recognizing wilderness resources, and making recommendations regarding Order-in-Council designation of wilderness areas
  • ensuring that recognized wilderness resources are protected and managed in accordance with management plans

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1.4 Program Goals

The recreation program has five activities: program management (Section 1.4.1), resource management (Section 1.4.2), use management (Section 1.4.3), landscape management (Section 1.4.4) and wilderness management (Section 1.4.5). Each of these activities consists of a number of sub-activities (e.g., General Planning and Management).

Figure 2: Recreation Program Structure

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1.4.1 Program Management

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

General Planning and Management

To develop and maintain the strategic direction, performance goals, budgets and staff for the recreation program

  • Resource analysis submissions
  • Five-Year Program submissions
  • Program management plans
  • Budget submissions and allocations

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Policy Development

To develop and maintain the statutory authority, inter-agency coordination, policy framework and administrative procedures for the recreation program

  • Statutes and regulations
  • Inter-Agency agreements
  • Ministry recreation policy
  • Recreation Manual
  • Standard operating procedures
  • Technical publications (e.g., handbooks and field guides)

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Supervision, Advice and
Extension Services

To supervise staff, advise managers and inform the public on matters pertaining to the recreation program

  • Supervision (to staff)
  • Advice and services (e.g., briefs, MRLs) (to managers)
  • Extension services (to the public)

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Training

To develop and maintain trained and qualified staff

  • Training sessions
  • Conferences and workshops
  • Career development

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Program Audit

To monitor program delivery relative to program goals

  • MoF annual report submissions
  • Recreation Program annual reports
  • Program audits

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Special Projects

To carry out special projects as directed

  • As required

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1.4.2 Resource Management

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Recreation Analysis

To assess the use, demand and value of the Provincial Forest recreation resource

  • FTAS (Recreation)
  • Recreation research,
    including:
  • Surveys
  • Use statistics
  • Demand forecasts
  • Socio-economic evaluations
  • Carrying capacities

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Recreation Inventory

To identify the present and future opportunities from the Provincial Forest recreation resource

  • Features inventories (maps, databases)
  • ROS inventories (maps, databases)

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Recreation Planning

To establish the Ministry's resource management goals for the Provincial Forest recreation resource

  • Provincial, regional
    and district recreation plans
  • RMPs for TSAs (recreation component)
  • MWPs for TFLs (recreation component)
  • Corridor plans
    (rivers and trails,
    heritage)
  • Cave/karst management
    plans
  • Access plans (recreation
    component of CAMPs)
  • Forest Landscape Management Plans (see landscape management
    activity)
  • Wilderness Management
    Plans (see wilderness
    management activity)

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Recreation Referral

To ensure that recreation (including landscape and wilderness) values are considered in resource management decisions

  • Recommendations on
    integrated resource
    management objectives
    and prescriptions for:
  • TSA/TFL planning documents
  • Local Resource Use Plans
  • Resource Development Plans
  • PHSPs
  • Other agency plans and proposals

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1.4.3 Use Management

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Brochure Preparation

To inform the public about recreation opportunities, forest etiquette, integrated resource management practices and field conditions

  • Recreation maps and
    brochures
  • Signs and posters

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Site and Trail
Routine Maintenance

To provide safe, sanitary, socially acceptable and environmentally sound recreation sites and trails in areas of concentrated use

  • Annual site and trail
    inspections
  • Project servicing to
    program standards
  • Post-season clean-ups

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Site and Trail Rehabilitation

See Site and Trail Routine Maintenance

  • Refurbishing of site and
    trail facilities to program
    standards
  • Rehabilitation of the site
    and trail environment to
    program standards

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Site and Trail Development

See Site and Trail Routine Maintenance

  • Site and trail:
  • planning
  • designation
  • assessment
  • design
  • construction

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Dispersed Use Management

To plan and manage commercial and non-
commercial recreation use

  • Inventory, planning and
    management of non-profit
    use locations

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Interpretation

To explain and discuss integrated resource management with the public

  • Recreation staff
    involvement in developing,
    maintaining and managing interpretive forest sites,
    areas and regions

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Enforcement

To enforce recreation management policy and procedures

  • Signing and posting of
    rules and regulations
  • Issuance of verbal and
    written warnings
  • Participation in legal
    proceedings

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1.4.4 Landscape Management

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Inventory

To identify, classify and record the location and quality of visual resources

  • Maps showing visual
    sensitivity, existing visual
    condition (EVC) and
    visual absorption
    capability (VAC)
  • V-feature component
    of recreation inventory
    maps and attributes

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Analysis

To identify desirable or acceptable levels of landscape alteration

  • Recommended master or
    site-specific VQOs,
    including:
  • maps
  • identified implications
    of VQO alternatives
  • management codes for
    recreation inventory maps
    and attributes

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Setting FLM Objectives

To establish the Ministry's objectives for managing visual resources

  • Provincial and regional
    FLM guidelines
  • Approved master or site-specific VQOs (including
    maps)
  • FLM plans
  • FLM components of
    other plans

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Design

To develop methods for achieving visual quality and other resource objectives within given biophysical, technological and economic constraints

  • FLM design solutions
    including:
  • visual simulations
  • road layout and cutblock
    designs
  • PHSP landscape
    recommendations
  • recreation site and
    trail designs

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Implementation

To achieve on-the-ground visual quality conditions that meet approved visual quality objectives

  • Forest practices that
    meet VQOs
  • FLM rehabilitation
    projects
  • FLM enhancement
    projects

Sub-Activity

Purpose Outputs

Monitoring

To evaluate achieved visual conditions in relation to approved visual quality objectives

  • Field inspections
  • Follow-up public
    involvement

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Research and Development

To enhance the effectiveness of FLM by developing and implementing new concepts, procedures and techniques

  • Improved FLM procedures,
    tools, techniques
  • Surveys, reports and
    other studies

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Recreation Program Applications

To apply FLM throughout the recreation program

  • FLM objectives and
    design solutions for:
  • site and trail
    management
  • wilderness management
  • recreation corridor
    management

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1.4.5 Wilderness Management

Sub-Activity

Purpose

Outputs

Research

To assess the use, demand and value of wilderness

  • Application of existing
    research
  • cooperative projects
    with other agencies and
    organizations
  • surveys and studies on:
  • use, demand and
    value of wilderness
  • limits of acceptable change
  • opportunity costs

Inventory

To develop and maintain an inventory of wilderness resources and resources affected by wilderness

  • Inventory of primitive and
    semi-primitive lands (see
    recreation inventory)
  • Provincial and regional
    scale maps of existing
    wilderness
  • GIS wilderness inventory
  • Reports on wilderness and
    related resources
  • Detailed inventories for
    wilderness studies

Planning

To identify and assess wilderness resources, to administratively recognize wilderness resources, and to make recommendations regarding wilderness designation

  • Provincial and regional
    wilderness plans
  • Wilderness assessments
    for IRM planning
  • Assessment and desig-
    nation processes for
    approved wilderness study
    areas
  • Wilderness management
    plans for designated
    wilderness areas

Management

To ensure that recognized wilderness values are protected and managed with management plans

  • Implementation, monitoring and revision of wilderness management plans
  • Enforcement activities

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1.5 References

Cited References

See list on page 1-11.

Supplementary References

Forest Act (RSBC number, year, etc.)
Ministry of Forests Act

(All those other acts that might be relevant, e.g., Park Act, etc.)