The application of social carrying capacity parameters to the recreational planning of lake environments : a case study of two lakes in Northern Ontario


Barber, William David.




This research focuses on the problem of formulating and integrating social carrying capacity parameters into the comprehensive recreational planning of lake environments. Firstly, the theoretical principles of the carrying capacity concept are presented, and their applicability to the field of recreation land use management is discussed. The three essential components of recreational carrying capacity are outlined with emphasis placed on the role of social carrying capacity parameters. Past research, which has utilized user attitudes and perceptions to produce estimates of social carrying capacity, is reviewed. The underlying factors which affect the process by which recreationists perceive the quality of the recreational environment and their recreational experience are also explored. Utilizing the lake planning methodology developed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, an assessment is made of the physical carrying capacities of two recreationally developed lakes (cottage-oriented) near Sault Ste. Marie in Northern Ontario - Trout and Diamond Lakes. The administration of a perceptions and attitudes survey questionnaire to lake residents at these two study lakes made possible the estimation of social recreation carrying capacity parameters and indices, based on users’ responses. The report concludes with a comparison between the physical and social carrying capacity parameters estimated for each lake. An assessment is made regarding the utility of formulating and incorporating a social carrying capacity component in the lake planning process. The importance of determining the social carrying capacity of a recreational lake environment is stressed, and recommendations for further research in this area are proposed.


Lakes -- Ontario -- Recreational Use




Carleton University

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Master of Arts: 

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Theses and Dissertations

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