Soil is a basic resource, the key consideration in any form of land use. Outdoor recreation areas must be designed for use without undue deterioration of soil, vegetation, and water resources. Pertinent soil and landscape characteristics need to be recognized.
Soil surveys provide for the systematic examination of soils in the field and laboratory. Each kind of soil occurring in the landscape is classified, defined, and delineated on a map. The scientific basis of a soil survey is that the locations of soils in the landscape have a degree of predictability. Soil surveys are reasonably accurate because this soil landscape association possesses a degree of correlation that is high enough to allow inference and predictions of soil behavior under different types of land use.
The objective of a soil survey is to delineate the landscape into soil units that contain less variable soil conditions than the total population of soils. The utility of the resulting soil map depends upon the precision of the statements that can be made about the behavior of the delineated units versus the area as a whole.
A soil survey can be one of the most useful tools available to management in planning a proper design of an area for recreational use. Knowledge of soil problems enables planners to use careful conservation practices or to direct traffic away from areas not suitable for heavy use. By using a soil survey, a design can be made that is compatible with natural land features. Both initial investment and maintenance after site development can be reduced.
Various subjects discussed include the following:
1. Soil formation;
2. An outline of the Canadian soil classification system;
3. Soil characteristics and other factors that affect the use of soils for various recreational and related purposes;
4. Three special problem soils;
5. Soil erosion;
6. Methodology used in conducting the soil surveys;
7. Soil and landscape maps that are produced for the soil survey reports;
8. An explanation of the various soil interpretations and guidelines used for developing the interpretation;
9. An appendix outlining the landform classification system used by Canadian pedologists.
Greenlee, G.M. (1981): Guidebook for use with soil survey reports of Alberta Provincial Parks and recreation areas; Alberta Research Council, ARC/AGS Earth Sciences Report 1981-01, 140 p.