Cooking Lake-Blackfoot PRA Outdoor Recreation Study

Understanding outdoor recreation participants’ interactions with each other.

The Cooking Lake Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area is natural area east of Edmonton, AB. The Cooking Lake-Blackfoot PRA provides a range of summer and winter outdoor recreation opportunities.  The 9,700 ha site is adjacent to a metropolitan population of over 1.3 million; the site is attractive to day users who hike, run, paddle, ride horses, cycle, practice photography, appreciate nature, bird watch, ski, snowshoe, and hunt.

The potential for conflict between hunters and non-hunters poses challenges for all visitors to public mixed-use sites in the province. Understanding and characterizing the potential for conflict at the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot PRA will help to identify sources of conflict before they become major issues. We hope to learn from the ways that hunters and non-hunters are sharing the landscape at the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot PRA. Three objectives frame this research:

  1. To investigate how hunters and non-hunters share the landscape at Cooking Lake-Blackfoot PRA, and the current state of, and potential for, interpersonal and social values conflict between hunters and non-hunters in the PRA.
  2. To understand the underlying drivers of conflict at the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot PRA using an established framework that has been consistently applied to recreation conflicts, including hunting.
  3. To determine whether site users’ and managers’ perceptions of site use levels and concerns for safety are supported by sites users’ personal experiences, empirical data of recreation effort, and intensity of firearm use.

This study has been funded by the Alberta Conservation Association.