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Recreational Boating Map

Katie Kahl -
link DOWNLOAD FILE: Full Map - Version 2

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Recreational boating in relation to social and ecological issues
Boating offers individuals a variety of opportunities to recreate on the water, ranging from fishing to water-skiing to sailing. Recreational boating attracts visitors and other sportsmen from across the country to the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB). Recreational boating comprises a significant segment of the recreational use of the WLEB, with the Great Lakes Commission estimating that 2.56 million boats were registered in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario alone. In total, over one-third of all boats registered in the U.S. call a Great Lakes state home.  Pleasure-craft users average $15,626 in annual spending related to boating, directly supporting over 107,000 jobs throughout the Great Lakes.  The success of the boating industry in western Lake Erie is highly-dependent on lake levels, as its average depth is only 25 feet.  Since the early 2000’s, Lake Erie has experienced near-record low lake levels, straining already depleted funds for dredging, closing boat slips in marinas and grounding vessels. The following year, lake levels have rebounded to more typical levels, however further stress on the ecosystem through water withdrawals and climate change could impact lake levels and recreational boaters in the long-term. The recreational boating data layer was included in the Marxan analysis to highlight waters within the WLEB that are considered valuable by boaters.

Recreational boating data layer
This layer shows the estimated density of boaters in the WLEB, with the greatest density of boats expected nearest to marinas. The number of boating slips at each marina in the WLEB was obtained from the GLEAM research team, who multiplied by the average slip occupancy rate for 2004, and extrapolated to reflect decreased boating activity as distance from a marina increases.