Prioritizing Places: Geo-demographic Analysis Guides Acquisition and Development of Outdoor Recreation Land

Richelle Winkler, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Bill Buckingham, University of Wisconsin at Madison
David D. Long, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Jeff Prey, State of Wisconsin
John Pohlman, State of Wisconsin

Starting in 1999, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) initiated a study to identify places in the state that would be critical in meeting Wisconsin’s long-term conservation and recreation needs. The resulting 229 “Legacy Places” collectively are the special places that “make Wisconsin Wisconsin.” This paper is based on a research project between the Applied Population Lab and the DNR to prioritize the Legacy Places for acquisition and development over the next several years. Using geo-demographic analysis, we evaluate each Legacy Place according to five components: (1) number of potential visitors living within an hour’s drive; (2) population pressure; (3) cost of land; (4) conservation significance; and (5) recreation potential. We then use the scores on each of these components to rank Legacy Places according to priority for acquisition and development and evaluate the implications of this work for state and federal programs.

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Presented in Session 58: Applied Demography as a Tool for Policy Design and Program Implementation