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Geographic information systems -- Research, Mount Baker National Forest (Wash.), Snoqualmie National Forest (Wash.)


This report provides an overview of the key patterns that emerged from the spatial analyses of the destination and route data collected during the 2013 Sustainable Roads workshops on the Mount Baker Snoqualmie (MBS) National Forest. We excluded the pilot workshop data from the analyses because a somewhat different process was used to collect the mapped data. The data used in the analysis was collected from 262 participants in eight workshops (Bellingham, Sedro-Woolley, Darrington, Monroe, Everett, Seattle, Issaquah, Enumclaw). During the workshops, participants mapped up to eight destinations of importance to them, and in most cases, also mapped the routes they took to each destination. For each destination and its associated route, participants also provided the following information.

  • Name of the place
  • Why the destination is especially important
  • What activities or work the participant does there
  • How often the participant visits the place in a typical year
  • What type of transportation the participant uses to get there

Of the 262 participants, 252 provided useable data for destinations and 246 provided useable data for roads. The dataset used in the spatial analysis contained 1733 records for destinations and 1609 records for roads. We entered the worksheet data for the destination and road mapping exercise into an Excel spreadsheet. The activities associated with each destination were grouped into eight categories (camping/relaxation, collecting/harvesting, hiking, motorized recreation, observation, sociocultural, strenuous recreation, and winter recreation). Although most people listed no more than two activities for a location, some people listed up to six different activities for certain destinations. The description of why a participant visited a particular location was similarly classified as a set of eight different values. Given the way the question was posed, many of the reasons workshop participants gave for visiting a particular place mirrored the activities in which they participated.

The spatial analysis team created map data from a roads dataset provided by MBS National Forest. The routes in the dataset were converted to lines broken at all intersections. Since the lines marked on the maps did not necessary begin or end at intersections, the digitized lines were broken at the beginning and ending vertices for analysis. Segments of state highways (SR 542, 20, 2, etc.) that were marked by participants were removed from the dataset prior to analysis. Marked county roads were retained for analysis to provide context for routes taken to certain popular destinations (e.g., Cascade River Road). All data were checked for quality by someone who did not create the map data.


Prepared for: The Wilderness Society/Sustainable Roads Cadre

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