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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Stangl, Paul

Second Advisor

Bach, Andrew J.

Third Advisor

Schiller, Preston L.


In National Parks across the country planners are currently experimenting with the use of automated counting devices as a means for estimating visitor use on trails. However, little is understood in regards to counter accuracy due to just recently becoming routinely used. Calibration as a result is becoming a standard practice to increase the accuracies of the data received. Even with this increase in use though, little research has been performed to better understand where calibration correction coefficient values should lie based on specific trail characteristics. This study contributes to the understanding of calibration and counter accuracy by using passive-infrared trail counters and time-lapse photography from May to September of 2012 to evaluate if the trail characteristics use, width, and slope are correlated with the correction coefficients received after calibration within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Results found that strong correlations at a 95% confidence interval exist between the examined trail characteristics width and slope, and the trail calibration coefficients received. These results represent both an initial step to better understand how certain trail characteristics influence trail counter accuracy, suggests what methods are most preferable to increase these accuracies when calibrating, and encourage managers to use more stringent forms of calibration.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Digital counters; Trails--Public use--California--Kings Canyon National Park--Measurement; Trails--Public use--California--Sequoia National Park--Measurement; National parks and reserves--California--Statistics

Geographic Coverage

Kings Canyon National Park (Calif.); Sequoia National Park (Calif.); California




masters theses




Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

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