Recreationists, Hunters, Fishermen, Outdoor Enthusiasts, Forest and Water Users: From Texas to Virginia & Florida, and a heads up nationwide
April 23, 2005
By Julie Kay Smithson  
Please share this with everyone you know who recreates or vacations anywhere there are forests, water or watersheds -- i.e., to everyone you know!
South Dakotans, you'll want to read this one through -- trust me, please!
There are two very interesting maps on pages 30 and 31 of this 31-page .pdf file whose title is SOCIO-6: Forest-Based Outdoor Recreation.
The 1995 and 2000 Surveys on Recreation and the Environment (NSRE), conducted by the USDA Forest Service, have been used to paint a picture of "recreation demand pressure" that can and is being used to stop public access.
While these two particular surveys and the resultant maps "only" cover thirteen states, rest assured that other such surveys and maps exist for the other thirty-seven states.
The first carries the title of: Hotspots of recreation demand pressure on forests, 2000.
The second is dubbed: Hotspots of recreation demand pressure on water and watersheds, 2000.
The colors on the maps are identified by "recreation demand pressure" as being: Negligible, light, moderate, moderately heavy, and heavy.
These two maps are a "must" for all those who dare to exert "recreation demand pressure."
What activities constitute "recreation demand pressure," you ask? Better sit down -- I didn't make up this list. Your 'friendly' Forest Service did. There are 57 activities on it.
"Recreation Demand Pressure" Activities
Viewing or photographing fish
Jet skiing
Viewing or photographing wildlife
Day hiking
Horseback riding
Coldwater fishing
Walking for pleasure
Visiting nature centers, etc.
Freshwater fishing
Developed camping
Driving off-road
Visiting prehistoric sites
Family gathering
Viewing or photographing birds
Big game hunting
Warmwater fishing
Swimming in lakes, rivers, ocean
Migratory bird hunting
Small game hunting
Saltwater fishing
Primitive camping
Visiting historic sites
Driving for pleasure
View/photograph natural scenery
View/photograph wildlife
View/photograph flowers, etc.
Visit the beach
Gather mushrooms, berries, etc.
Visit a wilderness
Visit a waterside besides the beach
View or photograph fish
Outdoor team sports
Mountain biking
Horseback riding on trails
Downhill skiing
Anadromous fishing
Scuba diving
Cross-country skiing
Gee, folks! What's left? I believe our 'friendly' Forest Service has just about covered all the bases under the heading, "Recreation Demand Pressure." Maybe we're really being targeted for cities and no fun activities outside, period. Not even photographing flowers, mind you! Not even "driving for pleasure" or "viewing" wildlife!
People are apparently being viewed as really ba-a-a-a-a-d for EVERYTHING.
On Page Two is this statement: "Recreation access to private land is increasingly limited to the owners themselves, their families or friends, or lessees. The number of ... private owners allowing the public to recreate on their land has been decreasing."
Sources of above information: Chapter SOCIO-6 Southern Forest Resource Assessment Draft Report and
To my cynical mind, that is a direct slap in the face of private landowners, who have, by the way, every right to limit access to their private property.
This very issue is right now the cause of the SD (South Dakota) Lockout and is being hotly debated/contested in the South Dakota Legislature -- as South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks continues its assault on private property rights.
By use of the Open Fields Doctrine, SDGF&P continues to misinform the public. 
Such statements as: " ... there still appears to be some confusing and erroneous information circulating about the Open Fields Doctrine and its relation to [SD GF&P] policy that places limits when their employees enter private lands to conduct compliance checks of hunters and anglers. The Open Fields Doctrine came about years ago through a series of decisions handed down by the United States Supreme Court. The Court upheld the principle that law enforcement officers, including Conservation Officers and other government agents, may enter privately owned open fields without permission, probable cause or a warrant in order to perform their duties as required by the law."
More information on the "Open Fields Doctrine:"
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution:
Open Fields Doctrine
Open Fields and the Future

How the National Park Service views recreation and citizens that dare to recreate (excerpt):

"What is the most important reason to get involved? Focus on benefits sought. More, faster, now seems to be the formula: all wanting more choice, more diversity, more value, more amenities, more enrichment…. and they want if faster! Used to be “man” versus “the mountain”…Now it is Mom, Dad, family, kids, friends, pets, etc. Everyone is going outdoors. 28% increase of people recreating outdoors monthly. Something for every generation: Healthy older adult population -- will flock to see you. The boomers are hitting prime travel years and expect the size of this population to increase and then drop. Look out those of you in the health care business -- this generation is self-absorbed!!! Gen X-Kids of boomers-appetite for extreme, Gen Y-replacing the greatest & matures, Gen Z-Most diverse generation ever. It is not about whom you look like -- it is about whom you don't look like. Each generation waiting for the other to retire so they can get promoted. Just wait for the future!"