Recreational Use Of Thomas Hill Reservoir And Adjoining Lands

An estimate of the total recreational use of the Thomas Hill Wildlife Area (1,778 ha reservoir and 2,424 ha of adjoining lands) in northern Missouri was made from I July 1972 to 30 June 1974. Recreational activity was determined by interviewing departing recreationists utilizing the non-uniform probability sampling technique. There were an estimated 219,700 recreational trips totaling 1,398,900 hours during the 2-year study. Twenty-two recreational activities were measured. Seven recreational uses; sightseeing, boating, fishing, camping, swimming, picnicking, and hunting accounted for over 99% of all the trips and hours. Sight-seeing made up 25%, boating 21 %, angling 20%, camping 16%, and swimming 9% of the total trips. However in hours, camping made up 42%, boating 22%, angling 21 %, and swimming 6% of the total. There were 63 trips per water surface ha and approximtely 45 trips per land surface ha. Anglers caught an estimated 172,100 fish during the study. A catch rate ofO.6 fish per hour provided a harvest of 97 fish per ha. White crappie (Pomoxis annularis) (87%) dominated the catch. Deer, rabbits, squirrels, predators, quail, and ducks were harvested. Harvest rates varied from 0.1 per hour for predators to 0.7 per hour for squirrels. Local residents made up 48% of all visitors while 78% came from within a 120-km radius. Recreationists came from 56 Missouri counties and from out-of-state. About 48% of all visitors held some type of Department license; many who did not were too young or too old to need a fishing license. The Thomas Hill Wildlife Area increased available public recreational opportunity in this region of the state and was important to North Central Missourians.

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