Effects of Rock Climbing on Vegetation and Invasive Species at Devils Lake, Wisconsin
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Since the passing of the Wilderness Act in 1964 participation in outdoor recreation has risen to six times more participants. Rock climbing is a fairly new recreational activity taking hold in the 1920’s. The two main aspects of climbing include the approach and the climb that consequently affect vegetation on and leading up to the climb. This study was conducted at Devils Lake in Merrimac Wisconsin. 10 x 10 m plots were set on the top and bottom of two high use routes and two low use routes. At each plot species diversity, percentage cover, species, soil texture, and soil pH where all recorded. Satellite imagery was also used to view the vegetation surrounding the cliffs. The data collected showed differences between the high use routes and the low use routes and the top of routes vs. the bottom of routes in species diversity. With proper management the impact from recreation and climbing can be greatly reduced if the proper rules and regulations are set in place.