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As the Trump administration opens millions of acres of once protected land and coastline for oil and natural gas exploration, there is mounting concern about the potential impact on the environment as well as those who enjoy the outdoors. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire took a closer look at one of these industries, shale natural gas energy development (SGD), and how it is affecting the experiences of outdoor recreationists, like hikers and campers. They found a significant number of recreationists encountered SGD-related activities and a smaller number even changed their outdoor recreation behaviors or experiences as a result of encountering SGD.
"What most people don't realize is that a lot of the shale natural gas energy development is happening within or adjacent to public parks and protected areas," said Michael Ferguson, assistant professor of recreation management and policy. "So those who love playing in the great outdoors are often encountering anything from heavy duty truck traffic congestion to actual construction and drilling operations while recreating on public lands."
Study - Journal - Outdoor - Recreation - Tourism
In the study, recently published in the Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, the researchers from UNH and Penn State University examined more closely the factors that may impact recreationists in Pennsylvania. They found that 12.3% of Pennsylvania outdoor recreationists were substantially impacted by SGD activities, especially in areas were SGD was most prominent (North Central and Southwest, Pennsylvania). 13.8% of respondents ended up changing their plans, avoided a certain area, or...
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