Drought impacts and management in prairie and sandhills state parks

Theresa M. Jedd, Devarati Bhattacharya, Cara Pesek, Michael J. Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The combination of decreased water availability and increased temperatures can interfere with outdoor activities, particularly with surface water decline and the increased risk of wildfire. Drought is a longer-term climate trend, but there is a tendency toward short-term reactions only when a drought occurs. Policy mechanisms for drought, where present, are often left to managerial discretion because they are not needed every year, and lack specific indicators. Recreator choices contribute to adaptation and public lands managers also shape drought response by monitoring meteorological trends and managing resources wisely. Despite these trends, no singular recreational drought definition exists. To understand socio-environmental interactions from a management perspective, this study synthesizes interview findings to provide in-depth insight about drought monitoring, impacts, and management across a variety of ecological regions in Nebraska state parks. Collectively, the eight participating superintendents oversee more than 152 km 2 of land, approximately 287 km 2 of surface water, and more than 364 km of lakeshore. The emergent properties of drought in the recreation sector include a shortage of naturally available water needed for vegetation health and animal habitat, to support lake sports, to prevent permanent infrastructure damage, and maintain visitor volumes for economic stability. The study concludes with recommendations for increasing drought resilience within the sector.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Drought
  • Natural hazard planning
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Public lands
  • State parks
  • Water availability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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