Structure Condition Services Stressors
Vermont’s forests are a source of considerable, year-around recreational opportunities. Vermont’s recreational opportunities attract visitors from all around the United States, and abroad. The 350,000 visitors using Vermont’s campgrounds in 2015 alone added $40 million to the economy1. Here, we use the number of visitors at Vermont State Parks as a proxy for recreation. We computed the annual score as the difference between the minimum and maximum.
The score is calculated using a target value and the historical range of the the entire long-term dataset. The higher the score, the closer this year's value is to the target.
Once the score is computed for each year, the trend in scores over time is calculated. If the trend is significantly positive or negative, the long-term trend is marked as increasing or decreasing respectively.
Distance between minimum and maximum (scaled 1-5)
Data maximum + 10% of range
|Directionality of scores||
Higher values in the data are better.
|Minimum value used in scoring||
Data minimum - 10% of range
|Maximum value used in scoring||
Data maximum + 10% of range
Data on camping and day use visitation counts per state park in Vermont were accessed from Vermont Department of Forest Parks and Recreation1. Note that these data do not contain all Vermont public lands visitation counts; for example, Camel’s Hump State Park is managed by the Green Mountain Club and those data are not collected by the state of Vermont. To process these data, we first classified each park parcel2 in the FPR dataset by the percent of forest cover using the National Land Cover Dataset3. Data began in 1936. A total of 144 parks were included, but further back in time, fewer parks are represented. Thus, we selected starting in 1970 to have >129 parks per year. The goal of this step was to subset state parks where forests were a predominant reason visitors came to the park, as opposed to water bodies or other types of non-forested natural resources. We classified parks based on the percent of Deciduous, Evergreen, and Mixed Forest Cover according to the NLCD (codes 41, 42, 43). We did not include Woody Wetland cover (code 90) because many parks that are adjacent to water bodies were classified as having a high amount of forest cover when this land cover type was included. Based on our familiarity with many of the state Pparks, we selected 60% forest cover as the threshold for a park considered forested. We subsetted all park visitation data to include only those parks with >60% forest cover as determined by NLCD. Total visitation counts (both camping and day use) of this group of parks were summed per year. We set the dataset target as the maximum value in the dataset plus 10% of the range. The annual score was computed as the difference between the lower scoring bounds (minimum value in the data minus 10% of the range) and the target. This difference was then scaled from 1-5.
Timber harvested from Vermont's forests provide jobs and income to the state, and support the maintenance of forest land.
Aquatic species that live in forested streams provide an assessment of the health of the surrounding forest.
The ability of forests to support big game species for hunting is an important service on which many Vermonters rely.
The amount of carbon stored by forests helps offset rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.
Maple syrup production is an iconic staple of Vermont's landscape and is reliant on the continued health of maple trees.
The number of people using Vermont's forests for camping and hiking provides a measure of the value of our forests for recreational uses.
The number and diversity of bird species that live and use forested habitats provides a sense of the quality of Vermont's forestlands for a variety of species.