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A Carrying Capacity Analysis for Presque Isle State Park

This study used a coordinated series of visitor counts and visitor surveys to assess the recreational use of Presque Isle State Park (PISP) and its associated impacts. The study was initiated in spring 2018, with field data collection occurring over a 12-month period during the 2018 and 2019 use seasons. People and vehicles were counted at 12 locations according to a detailed schedule for the year-long data collection period. Interviews with park visitors were conducted concurrently with on-site user counts. Use levels varied widely between the different sites and within each site due to seasonal use pattern variations. Visitor survey data was used to calculate visitation rates (or proportion of visitors using the location) for various sites within the park. The most popular locations within the park were the Perry Monument (visited by 26.8% of visitors) and the West Pier Launch (visited by 21.8%). Visitor counts verified the park is visited most heavily in the summer months, with use dropping sharply in fall and winter, and a moderate numbers of visitors during the spring. The counts also showed an expected pattern of heavier visitation on weekends, with Saturdays receiving more visitors than Sundays. When broken down by time of day, the visitor counts also followed a predictable pattern of few people visiting in the early morning and visitation growing and peaking around mid-day and tailing off over the course of the afternoon. Use levels rebounded and remained relatively high between the hours of 4:00 and 6:00 PM.

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