Modeling Visitation to Public Lands Using Social Media and Crowd-Sourced Data (306481)Emmi Lia, University of Washington
*Sama Winder, University of Washington
Spencer Wood, University of Washington
Keywords: Outdoor recreation, Social media, crowd-sourced data
The opportunity to recreate outdoors is one of many ecosystem services provided by public lands. Outdoor recreation has been shown to improve physical and mental well-being, increase environmental stewardship, and benefit local economies. In order to effectively manage public lands, land managers need information about when, where, and how many people are visiting. However, traditional methods of quantifying visitation are expensive and time-intensive. This project investigates the potential to incorporate data from social media platforms and crowd-sourced SMS surveys into models of recreational use of public lands. The locations of posts made to social media platforms are paired with on-site visitation data and crowd-sourced parking lot counts to develop statistical models of visitation at pilot study sites in Western Washington and Northern New Mexico. These models quantify and estimate visitation at fine spatial (individual trail) and temporal (weekly) scales, giving land managers the opportunity to make decisions based on up-to-date and relatively cost-efficient data.