Bighorn motorized recreation project

Bighorn motorized recreation project

The Bighorn Backcountry is a wilderness area situated in the mountains and foothills between Jasper and Banff National Parks in Alberta's central Rockies. This region supports a diverse mammal assemblage across a variety of habitats, while also supporting various types of human land use. The Bighorn is largely unprotected, with industrial activities including logging and oil and gas exploration; it is also a popular spot for motorized recreation (ATV, dirt biking, snowmobiling etc.) and other activities such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding. My research aims to understand how human motorized use of linear features including cutlines, trails and roads affects the distribution of large mammal species. We have deployed 56 cameras across linear features throughout the Bighorn to quantify human and mammal use of these features to assess how the intensity of human use affects the occurrence of mammal species. My project aims to better understand how human motorized recreation affects species of conservation interest in the Eastern Slopes, providing information that may aid land managers in deciding how to regulate recreational use of the landscape.

Project Leads: Laura Eliuk

Affiliations: Alberta Environment and Parks

Focal Species: Black Bear; Grizzly Bear; Grey Wolf; Mule Deer; White-Tailed Deer; Moose; Canada Lynx; Red Fox; Wolverine