Resource Assessments & Data Analysis

Lots of Data!

Here is a behind the scenes look at our resource assessments and data analysis work in Panthertown.

Resource assessments in Panthertown, including collecting data on trails and campsites, and then analyzing that data, form the basis for management decisions made by the U.S. Forest Service and work performed by Friends of Panthertown.

WE NEED YOUR HELP! We need to raise $10,000 by November 1 in order to meet our funding goals for this crucial program and its associated projects. Every dollar counts. Can we count on YOU to support this important work? Thank you!

September 2023 update: Our trail assessments are still ongoing, as we seek to assess every mile of trail in Panthertown! Recent trails that have been assessed include Little Green, Green Valley, Mac’s Gap, and more! This assessment process will be extremely useful to the U.S. Forest Service as they do not have the capacity to collect these data themselves! Did you know that only 3% of all trails in America have been assessed? As more trail data are added into the U.S. Forest Service system, more funding will be awarded to them and to us!

For the past year and a half, Friends of Panthertown has been collecting data points to analyze all of the trails and campsites in Panthertown. This is an in depth effort, with each and every trail feature being documented, from rolling grade dips to extremely eroded sections. We have documented sections and features of trail from basic drainage features that just need routine maintenance in the future all the way to extremely eroded sections that will require the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) approval and help with their remediation. This is going to transform Panthertown’s land management plan on all levels for the future! 

Projects like this have happened before, but not on the scale that we need in America. The process of this assessment survey will result in a land management plan for Friends of Panthertown as well as the USFS; they will also lead to the creation of Trail Management Objectives (TMOs) for Panthertown’s trails. TMOs are a nation wide project, but they aren’t being created at a very high rate. Only three percent of National Forest Service (NFS) trails currently have these objectives. This nationwide project is important for a couple of reasons. Number 1: successful land management plans are needed for the sustainability and reliability of our trails for generations to come. Number 2: you can’t fund what you don’t know you have! This means that only three percent of our NFS trails are recognized and funded by the federal government! 

Friends of Panthertown and the U.S. Forest Service rely on data collection and assessments to determine best management of this public resource.

For this project, Friends of Panthertown’s Trails and Stewardship Director, Krista Robb, and Trails and Stewardship Manager, Kara McMullen, have been out in the field collecting these data. These “assessment days” in Panthertown include hiking to different trails and campsites, and recognizing all of the features that need to be assessed.

As they hike in Panthertown, our trained team input and document the information about each feature into an ArcGIS app: Survey123. At the beginning of this process, our staff created a detailed survey on Survey123 that provided all of the information required to create TMOs. The data collected are then transferred from the app to the online database for an overview of each trail.

We use tools and software to build our datasets, and we need your help to fund this crucial function of our organization.

As stated above, Survey123 is being used for the collection of these data, but it is not the only tool that Friends of Panthertown has used for this process! We utilize GPS for navigation, and ArcGIS has numerous tools for data collection, management, and analysis; Survey123, FieldMaps, and ArcMap all helped in the data collection process for this project. They also used physical tools, like a measurement wheel to make sure they were inputting the correct length of certain features or square footage of each campsite. Clinometers were a tool used that shows the slope of a trail, often a crucial factor in erosion effects. We also take lots of photographs and even use some LIDAR imaging during our assessments.

We need to raise $10,000 by November 1 in order to meet our funding goals for this crucial program and its associated projects.

Though the data collection part of this project is nearly finished, we are now moving into a new phase: Data Analysis. This last part of the project will result in a polished presentation to the USFS with a collection of all of our data and the results.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“Terrific Job At Stewarding”

Friends of Panthertown does a terrific job at stewarding one of our greatest natural assets and ensuring its sustainability for future generations to come. Their efforts are invaluable and we are so lucky to have such a dedicated team.

Nick Breedlove, Executive Director, Jackson County Tourism Development Authority

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“Highly Committed”

Friends of Panthertown is an amazing organization committed to protecting the vast 6000 plus acres we all love to experience! This group works diligently all year to organize trail maintenance work days, support conservation efforts to benefit this land, and to educate Panthertown users! A highly committed and dedicated group!

Marcia Shawler
volunteer, Friend