Jump to main navigation. Jump to main content

The CURA publications library is currently being digitized by the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy. When the project is complete, the entire CURA publications library will be online and fully searchable. Unfortunately, during this process we are not able to honor individual requests for publications . Additionally, we no longer have physical copies of publications to send out.

New publications are digitized daily and the publications catalog on the CURA website is not automatically updated with links to scanned copies, so please search the CURA collection at the Digital Conservancy for the publications you are looking for:

Recreational Use of the St. Croix Islands and Its Implications for the Integrity of Forest Island Ecosystems.

Pitt, David G., Diane C. Whited, and Michele Hanson.

In 1972, Congress designated the Lower St. Croix National Scenic and Recreational Riverway in recognition of the biological, physical, scenic, and recreational resources along the 52-mile corridor that extends from St. Croix falls to the river's confluence with the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, the increased recreational use of the riverway and its islands that has resulted from this designation now threatens to undermine the viability of these very resources. Symptoms of environmental degradationラ including shoreline erosion and disruption of island ecosystemsラhave already begun to appear. Because the riverway has always been open to public use, regulations designed to restrict access are likely to fail without sufficient information to justify such restrictions. In order to provide such information, the authors investigated the relationship between island ecosystem changes and changing patterns of recreational use on the riverway. Using geographic information systems (GIS) technology, the authors tracked changes in the size and structure of forests located on the St. Croix Islands between 1969 and 1991, as well as changes in recreational boating patterns on the riverway between 1980 and 1995. The authors conclude that there is little evidence to suggest that island forest decline is linked to actual island use by boaters, but that increased boat traffic near islands has disrupted ecosystem integrity on smaller islands in some areas of the riverway. The authors suggest several management tools to prevent further destruction of these islands, including restricting boat traffic and reducing boat speeds around certain islands, coupled with better public education efforts.

CURA Reporter
Publication date: 
Minneapolis: Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota.
Supported by a grant from CURA's Program for Interactive Research.
32 (2): 8-15
Online availability
Download from CURA: 
CURA call number: 
Reporter 32 (2)

CURA Research Areas: