Recreation demand for five Galveston Island, Texas beach segments.
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Recreation demand was established for five Galveston Island, Texas beach segments as part of the U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers' Galveston County Shore Erosion Study (GCSES). The primary purposes of the GCSES were to determine the magnitude and extent of the shore erosion problems along a portion of the upper Texas coast and to develop suitable plans for eliminating or minimizing the problems. The results of the study show that the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico is rapidly eroding in some locations and, as a consequence of the erosion, there is a high potential for large economic losses. The study results also demonstrate that there is an opportunity to acommodate a portion of the increasing recreation demand for Galveston Island. The paper describes the recreational analyses required to identify and distribute part of the area-wide recreation demand to individual beach segments to evaluate economic feasibility of potential beach nourishment projects. Analyses were complicated by the lack of actual visitor counts at the beach segments under consideration. Annual demands for the individual beach segments were established using two independent methods: inspection of low-altitude aerial photographs, and a weighted point system which assigned each beach segment points for value of recreation experience, availability of opportunity, carrying capacity, accessibility, and environmental quality. The annual demands for each beach segment were further analyzed to determine seasonal and daily beach use trends. These results were compared to present and projected recreational capacities at each beach segment to determine the available opportunities for recreation or lack thereof. The increase in recreation resulting from preservation, or development of additional recreational areas was used to provide benefits to justify project implementation.