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A resource and visitor inventory of Yoho Valley, Yoho National Park, British Columbia Vold, Terje

Abstract

The study objective was to inventory natural resources, use patterns, and visitor characteristics in Yoho Valley, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, and to offer some management considerations for the area. In the natural resource inventory, research emphasis was placed on a soil and landform survey which resulted in a soils map of Yoho Valley. Soil map units are discussed in detail, and interpretations are developed on the suitability of soil types to support trail and campground users. Soil map unit descriptions include information on soil parent material, horizonation, depth, texture, coarse fragments, drainage, slope, elevation range, and associated vegetation. The soils of Yoho Valley were divided, into 13 soil map units consisting of 6 different landforms and 5 separate soil orders. Humo-Ferric. Podzols occurred in the Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir forest zone oh morainal landform material. Degraded Eutric Brunisols were found on relatively stable colluvial material and glacio-fluvial deposits in the same forest zone. Alpine Eutric Brunisols occurred on both till and colluvium in the alpine zone above 7200 feet elevation. Cumulic and Orthic Regosols occurred on both steep colluvium and.on relatively flat fluvial deposits. Small amounts of Organics and Gleysolics were also found in the study area. Steep slopes were found to be the major soil limitation for both trails and campgrounds; over 90% of the study area occurs on greater than 30% slopes, and nearly 60% of the valley is on greater than 60% slopes. Information related to the climate, geology, flora, and fauna of the study area was examined as background. Photographs were systematically taken along trails to document visual conditions of trail sides. A visitor survey was undertaken to assess the amounts and distribution of road, campground, and backcountry use. Traffic counter recording devices were installed on the Yoho Valley road and calibrated to determine visitor-days of road use. The Takakkaw Falls campground in Yoho Valley was visited each day in 1972 to determine camper-nights of use. Rates of registration were calculated for the trail kiosk for backcountry use estimates. Use data were compared, over time to determine growth trends. It was estimated that approximately 71,300 visitors entered Yoho Valley by road in 1974. Approximately 79% of the visitors were day users, while 21% were overnight users. Road use increased at the average annual rate of 10% since 1969. Campground use in 1974 was 6,075 campers % use increased 20 to 25% per year from 1968 to 1972 until use restriction measures were implemented in 1973. An estimated 8,40.0 visitors hiked in the valley's backcountry in 1974. Approximately 74% of these visitors were day hikers. Backcountry use has increased at the average rate of 20% per year since 1965. A road and backcountry survey of visitor characteristics was conducted in 1972 by employing on-site personal interviews. Two hundred parties were interviewed on the Yoho Valley road and 193 parties were sampled on backcountry trails. The survey questionnaire provided information on the demographic characteristics, trip characteristics, preferences and opinions of the study area , users. The results are discussed and compared with other related research. Yoho Valley users were found to have disproportionately more income and more formal education than the Canadian population. Users were also more likely to have a 'professional' occupation and to reside in a large city. Backcountry users, relative to road users, were more likely to be male, to be between 10 to 39 years old, to have less income, to have more education, to be a 'professional', to be from a large city, and to be Canadian and Albertan. The median distance traveled by road users from their place of residence was 2000 miles, while it was half that or 1000 miles for back-country users. Most road users spent less than two hours in the study area, while hikers usually spent between five to twelve hours in the area. Questions related to visitor preference indicated a fairly high level of satisfaction by both visitor groups. Over two-thirds of the valley's road users and nearly one-half of the backcountry users said there was 'nothing at all' that they disliked about their visit. Most visitors actually preferred the valley's present gravel road to a paved road. Seventy-five percent of the valley's road users and 89% of the backcountry users opposed the idea of paving the Yoho Valley road. Most visitors were concerned that paving the road would lead to overcrowding and overdevelopment in the study area. Although several possible backcountry modifications were shown on the questionnaire form to hikers, all were rejected by most backcountry users. Changes that received the most support related to the hikers need for more and better backcountry information This background resource and visitor inventory is examined with respect to campground and trail facility proposals made by Parks Canada in 1972. The intent is to show how the resource and visitor inventories can assist in the evaluation of park planning proposals. It is hoped that the inventory information presented will be useful to park managers and planners in a general way, and specifically in the formulation of land use decisions for Yoho Valley.

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