Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

Transactions of the Forty-Seventh North American Wildlife and Natural Resource Conference, March 26-31, 1982; Portland, Oregon


Wildlife Management Institute

Publication Date





Forest Management | Forest Sciences | Life Sciences


Resource planning has undergone transitions over the years from a site to area to regional orientation and from a single function to integrated resource management orientation. Wildlife and recretation resource planning have been part of this evolution, which has been stimulated somewhat by recent land management planning-oriented legislation such as the National Forest Management Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

During the last couple of years, a system for recreation planning within the context of integrated resource planning has emerged. It is called Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) planning and arose as an old idea was made operational through new knowledge from recreation behavior research and through the necessity for designing a system that was integrative with other resource planning systems (e.g., Driver and Brown 1978, Clark and Stankey 1979, Brown 1979, Stankey and Brown 1981).

The idea for a recreation opportunity spectrum has been around for a long time. The notion (though not necessarily the label) occurs in the writings of Marshall (1937), J. V. K. Wagar (1951), Burch (1964), Lucas (1964), and J. A. Wagar (1966) among others. The behavioral research that has led to making the idea operational for planning is more recent. For example, in research leading to ROS concepts, Potter et al. (1973) have studied hunters, Driver and Knopf (1976) have studied fishermen, Schreyer and Nielsen (1978) have studied river runners, and Brown and Haas (1980) have studied wilderness backpackers. Based upon the ideas of these and several other authors, the ROS has been made operational for planning. It has been adopted by both the USDA Forest Service and USDI Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and thus is being applied on about 30 percent of the land area of the U.S. (Buist and Hoots 1982). What is this planning system, how does it work, and how is it related to other resource outputs such as timber and wildlife?


Recreation Opportunity Spectrum, Wildlife-Oriented Recreation, Resource Planning


Copyright 1982 Wildlife Management Institute