Avalanche zoning: current status, obstacles and future needs

TitleAvalanche zoning: current status, obstacles and future needs
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1977
AuthorsTesche, T. W.
Conference Name45th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 45th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1977
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationAlbuquerque, New Mexico
KeywordsAvalanche zoning

The rapid expansion of winter recreational facilities, housing subdivisions, highways, mining operations and energy lifelines into mountainous areas has dramatically increased the frequency of man's exposure to avalanche disaster. Currently, the limitations of access to hazardous areas during periods of high danger and control over the construction of structures in hazardous areas are the most promising means of mitigating avalanche hazards. This paper focuses upon land use zoning regulations pertaining to avalanche hazard and the need for expanded zoning efforts in the Western United States.With the exception of the State of Colorado, avalanche zoning in the United States, where it exists at all, is piecemeal and fragmented. The general lack of consistent land use policy for natural hazard areas, particularly avalanche areas, stems from complex interactions between local socioecomomic, legal and political pressures. Confounding the avalanche zoning problem are current scientific problems in delimiting the snow avalanche hazard, improving hazard recognition, estimating destruction potential and encounter probabilities, and avalanche zone mapping.