Smith Rock Adaptive Management Framework and Capacity Assessment

Terrebonne, OR
Managing Demand for a Natural Wonder

Knot Studio’s intelligent systems-level approach to assessment and management helped Oregon State Parks and Recreation find new ways to balance increasing visitor demand with natural preservation at the state’s beloved Smith Rock.

Central Oregon’s Smith Rock is a mecca for rock climbers, hikers, and day walkers. With its rust-colored, striking rock formations, the high desert outcropping draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. This popularity created a challenge for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, as it considered options for managing the natural wonder and maintaining its beauty while providing a safe area for onlookers, seasoned hikers, and climbers.

The Adaptive Management Framework and Capacity Assessment was developed by Knot Studio to guide long-term Oregon Parks and Recreation decision-making. The challenge for Knot Studio was to reflect the aspirations of the Department’s management goals and objectives. Knot Studio’s solution was a system that empowers the Parks Department’s staff to manage park assets, natural resources, and visitor experience more sustainably over time. Knot Studio tackled capital planning challenges while also giving the department guidance on investment priorities. Knot Studio’s expertise helped the Department with a program for outdoor recreation management — creating a more intelligent systems-level approach to assessment and management.

The Knot Studio assessment means higher proficiency for the Parks Department as it faces the challenge of managing demand for the unique natural wonder — guaranteeing a quality visitor experience and sustainable management of native ecosystems. Knot Studio’s customized approach resulted in a tool easily implemented by the client and exceeded the client’s goal of finding new ways to balance visitor demand with natural preservation. Such a program ensures that many generations will share in the wonder of this uniquely Oregon natural attraction.

650 acres
Oregon State Parks and Recreation