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Improved cost accounting for O&M expenditures is needed in order to establish effectiveness measurements of litter, vandalism and other visitor protection related O&M costs.
Controlling Water-Borne Facilities
The growing number of large cabin cruisers and self-propelled houseboats (including some in the form of trailer homes mounted on pontoons) is an emerging problem which should be carefully monitored. This new type of equipment should be: (1) used for intermittent recreational purposes rather than permanent habitation; (2) controlled with respect to water pollution; (3) prevented from usurping an undue amount of space in concession areas and interferring with services to smaller craft; and, (4) prevented from evolving into the equivalent of "floating villages."
Instituting Modern O&M Practices
This involves keeping up-to-date in planning and designing for effective O&M. There are many advanced developments in litter cleanup equipment such as vacuum pick-up equipment or vandal-proof facilities that could be used at Corps recreation areas. It was observed during the study that the latest in techniques or technology for park maintenance were seldom reflected in the design of areas or in O&M operations.
Other O&M measures which would facilitate improved visitor and resource protection include the following:
Expansion of authority to require concessions and private facilities such as cottages, homes, clubs, boathouses and docks to maintain adequate maintenance, safety standards, and equip
Permits for rundown, abandoned or otherwise poorly maintained facilities should be revoked if not corrected within a reasonable time, and removed by the Corps. Illegal encroachments should also be subject to direct Title 36 enforcement.
Employment of retired couples to live in strategically placed cottages or trailers (temporarily only) to provide surveillance and visitor assistance.
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lations under the provisions of Title 36.
Communication, if used properly, is a very effective tool. However, in a recreation setting, communication is quite a complex matter involving, (1) communicating to the visitor the purpose of the recreation area and the regulations for its use; (2) communicating to the law enforcement officers the need for visitor protection and assistance; and, (3) coordinating the variety of communication means, such as personal contact, signs, and lights.
Some of the communication difficulties apparent from the field surveys of the Corps lakes were that few Corps areas had attendant gate accesses to provide instructions and information; few had an adequate number of visitor areas where emergency assistance could be summoned; a ranger's flashlight peering in a campground at night cannot be differentiated from a "prowler;" too many signs detract from the esthetics of the landscape; and not all Corps mobile radios had connecting frequency channels with local or state law enforcement.
Often the overall needs for communication are inadequately assessed when expediency is principly involved in selecting and purchasing radio equipment for project headquarters and patrol cars. Such equipment is important, however, there is also need to take a close look at developing improved means of visitor communication within the milieu of the recreation area environment. Unfortunately, this problem cannot be solved by purchasing traditional pieces of equipment. More study will need to be given to this problem in visitor protection and recreation planning.
The process of communication is closely interwoven with the information to be transferred, the method of communication, and the environment within which the communication takes place. When a visitor enters a Corps recreation area, the visitor should have an understanding of the
purpose of the area, rules for its use, the location and kinds of recreation facilities available, and how to get assistance if needed.
There appeared to be a wide range of approaches to visitor information at Corps lakes, ranging from an elaborate new visitor center at project headquarters at J. Percy Priest Lake at Nashville, to virtually no information available at some of the other akes.
Effective communication of information could improve visitor conduct through the education and values that are also gained by visitors. The personal orientation also enables a fuller pursuit of recreation experience and an improved sense of security by knowing assistance is available if needed.
Some examples of communication processes that would improve both the quality of recreation experience and enforcement of rules and regulations are described below.
Signs are perhaps the most common technique used to communicate information. At the same time, however, the increasing number of signs needed to communicate information has become an environmental problem. There are ways by which signs could be improved:
Use of symbols to communicate, such as the U.S. Department of
Providing paved pull-overs to allow visitors to read information signs without blocking traffic. An example would be to locate large informational signs before the entrance gate as shown in Sketch 2.
Careful consideration must be given to sign language so regulations and other information is displayed briefly and succinctly. Substitute symbols wherever possible for rule and direction statements.
Painting signs on pavement, such as speed limits, whenever