- Lilley, Williams D.
University of Maine Graduate School
Campgrounds at Baxter State Park and Acadia National park were studied with the primary objectives of: (1 ) describing the existing soil and vegetative conditions; and (2) trying to relate these conditions to the construction and use of the campground. A secondary objective was to determine if the soil, vegetation, and use variables, which were used to describe the campgrounds, could predict changes that had occurred due to recreational activities. A soil penetrometer was tested as a means of predicting the bulk density of the soil.
Four sample plots at campsites and one at a relatively unused area (control) were established at six campgrounds. Measurements and observations with respect to ground cover soil erosion, number of trees and shrubs per acre, mechanical injury to trees and shrubs, and. the presence of litter were recorded at these area. Where appropriate, the data were categorized by parking use, other high use, low use, and control use intensity classes. Comparisons there made between campsites and the control, and between use intensity classes. From the results of this study the following conclusions were drawn:
1. A method, other than comparing areas used intensively for recreation with those that are relatively unused, is needed to measure the actual changes in soil and vegetation which are a result of recreational use.
2. The construction and. use of each campground changed the original ground cover and duff thickness at the campgrounds studied.
3. Soils with high silt plus clay and organic matter contents had lower bulk densities than those with low organic matter and silt plus clay contents. This suggested that the spreading of a sand fill at campground high use areas changed the original soil texture at some campgrounds to one which was more likely to have high bulk densities.
4. More testing of the penetrometer to predict bulk density is needed.
5. Trees need to be established and encouraged at heavily used areas so a permanent forest cover can be maintained.
6. The effects of compaction and trampling on tree growth were inconclusive" .
7. Programs to eliminate mechanical injuries to trees are needed to maintain tree vigor.
8. The reduction of erosion is needed to prevent increased site deterioration.
9. Areas at campgrounds used for parking, tents, fireplaces, etc., were found to have the largest soil and vegetation differences from a control. Research into method of controlling the size of these area6 is needed in order to prevent widespread. campsite deterioration.