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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Resource road management complexity and efficacy assessment in access management : toward implementation of effective access management for southern British Columbia DeWolff, Brent


Resource roads are a dominant feature of southern British Columbia (BC), and function within a complex coupled human-environment system. There is presently a problem of how best to manage human motorized access on these roads to limit negative environmental impacts. Access management (AM) strategies are closures to regulate accessibility, and are one method to improve the resilience of vulnerable wilderness areas. This paper conceptualizes and characterizes the use and management of roads in southern BC using complex systems theory, and explores the efficacy of AM. A questionnaire was developed to map the network of preliminary road management stakeholders, and assess how organizations collaborate to manage road use and impacts. Four types of AM strategies in two case study locations were monitored to assess the proportional field effectiveness of gates, signs, temporary closures, and unmarked closures. Stakeholder involvement in AM planning differs based on connectivity to local management entities, affecting education of management rationale and objectives, and hindering AM effectiveness. Informed road users can evaluate their impact prior to road use, where a similar decision may be conducted without due consideration of consequences. Network analyses found the preliminary resource road management network in southern BC is highly fragile and disconnected, a fundamental barrier to education. Field assessments showed that gates, signage, and temporary closures should buffer a wilderness area from approximately 86% of public vehicle traffic with a 95% confidence interval of 84% to 88% when AM strategies are applied in a manner similar to those herein assessed. The study notes that where resource harvesting is ongoing, the distribution of road traffic is estimated to be 39% industry traffic with a 95% confidence interval of 37% to 41%, and 61% public traffic with a 95% confidence interval of 59% to 63%. Network analyses and field evaluation of applied effectiveness illustrate how communication of road closure rationale and on-site stakeholder education, along with appropriate contextual use of physical access infrastructure, can improve the efficacy of AM strategies. Recommendations are discussed for how to best consider future resource road management, with specific discussion on how to efficiently implement effective AM strategies.

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