Southern Utah News Articles
Last round of focus groups for Recreation Study
The public is invited to join a conversation about recreation management on BLM public lands. The areas to be discussed include public lands accessed by Highway 89 between Kanab and Page, as well as landscapes in Paria Canyon and Vermilion Cliffs. This is the last of three rounds of local area focus groups being hosted this year by Colorado Mesa University’s Natural Resource Center (NRC), Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM), Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and the Kanab Field Office.
The focus groups are scheduled for October 15 through October 17 in Kanab, Big Water and Page.
These sessions are the third phase of the Recreation Experience Baseline Study being conducted by Colorado Mesa University to help the BLM better respond to the public’s desires and expectations for how recreation is managed on public lands in this region.
The first phase of the project was conducted in 2013 and studied the western Escalante Canyons region; while the second phase, conducted in 2014, focused on the Grand Staircase region.
This research seeks to engage local leaders, business owners, residents, and visitors that either participate in recreational activities in this region or have a stake in the quality of the experience of those that do.
A focus group is a form of research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, preferences, and attitudes towards, in this case, recreational use on public lands in this region. Questions are asked in an interactive group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members.
The idea behind the focus groups is to open dialogue between BLM land managers and the public on recreation issues, to provide information for future planning efforts and project assessments, and to gather data needed to better understand the public’s desired outcomes for recreation management in the Monument.
The focus groups will be facilitated by Dr. Tim Casey, Professor of Political Science at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado. Dr. Casey is a lead researcher and director of the NRC who has extensive experience working with BLM on similar social science projects on the Colorado Plateau. He has been responsible for facilitation of public meetings and focus groups regarding public lands since 2006.
Each focus group session will last approximately two hours. The meetings will be held on Thursday, October 15, at 7 p.m., and Friday, October 16, at 10 a.m. at the GSENM Visitor Center in Kanab, at 745 Hwy 89 East; on Friday, October 16 at 3 p.m. (Arizona time) at the Page Public Library, 479 S. Lake Powell Blvd; and on Saturday, October 17, at 11 a.m. (Utah time), at the Big Water GSENM Visitor Center at 20 Revolution Way.
This third phase of the Recreation Experience Baseline Study has been funded by a National Landscape Conservation System Science Grant and Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act fees. If funding allows, additional BLM public lands in the region will be studied in subsequent years.