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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type

Masters Field Project

Department or Program Affiliation

Environmental Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Laninga, Tamara Jean

Second Advisor

Hollenhorst, Steven J.


Recreation managers in the United States Forest Service (USFS) across the country face reduced budgets, increased visitation, and costly infrastructure problems . In the West especially, increased frequency and severity of wildfires has led to the closure and/or extreme damage to recreation opportunities. To address these issues, the USFS released the Framework for Sustainable Recreation in 2010 to guide recreation planners using principles of sustainability. Sustainable planning theory has existed in the literature since the 1980s as an approach to the consequences of climate change that incorporates economic, environmental, and social equity (Brundtland, 1987). Since 2010, some National Forest regional and forest-level offices have drafted localized guides to sustainable recreation. However, these documents remain at a broad, theoretical scale rather than providing operating guidance for ranger district staff (Selin, 2017). In 2019, the Entiat Ranger District (ERD) of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington state, began developing the Entiat Sustainable Recreation Strategy. This document was created using participatory planning methods in combination with field evaluations of current ERD infrastructure. The development of the Strategy provides a case-study to analyze how sustainability principles are adapted from broad planning guidelines and applied on a local scale. The results of this case study illustrate how sustainable planning theory fails to meet the needs of current planning in the USFS, which is incapable of providing the opportunities it once did for recreationists. Rather than attempt to maintain the status-quo, planners should prioritize the facilities and opportunities most desired by current recreationists that do not impede on environmental protection. This type of management incorporates resiliency theory as the fourth dimension to sustainability (Ahern, 2013). As disturbances such as wildfire and major budget cuts impact managers ability to sustain recreation opportunities, managers must invest and divest in resources strategically to be able to meet recreation demands over the long-term.




United States Forest Service, recreation, sustainable, planning


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subjects – Names (LCNAF)

United States. Forest Service; Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (Agency : U.S.)

Subject – LCSH

Sustainable forestry--Washington (State)--Entiat--Planning; Sustainable tourism--Washington (State)--Entiat--Planning; Ranger stations--Washington (State)--Entiat

Geographic Coverage

Entiat (Wash.)




Academic theses; Case studies




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