Active use is also known as current use and is a term used to understand the current role or use of an open space. Understanding the active use and passive use values over a
given space can better help determine the overall value of land. This concepts stems from the desire to preserve land, namely farm land. If one could measure how much farm land was currently being used for agriculture, one could essentially ward off having the land assessed as what it could be used for economically.
There is a property tax incentive tied in with active use. Often a discount is given out to farmers as an incentive to open their land up to public, non-motorized use. (ie.. Hunting, hiking..etc) Opening land up to public use has often shown to have social, economical, recreational, environmental, cultural and health benefits on a community.
The definition and concept of current or active use has broaden beyond farm land includes many other variables. For example the current use of a given fishery may be determined by how often fisheries are used, and the amount of fish harvested. Determining it's active and passive uses are crucial in determining the overall value of the land and play an important role in preserving land.

Determining Active Use

Determining active use has multiple methods. Often one must first assess the land of possible uses, or things that could be put to use on the land. There are multiple methods that can be used to measure an open space's current use:

Number of Trail Users

One of the more straight up methods towards determining active use would be to count the amount of people that use the trail, fishery..etc. Compling the amount of people who visit per day could lead to determining an overall average to how many people actually use the park that day.
There are many variables to consider when going to count the amount of people on a given trail. For example if you were to try and count the amount of people who visit Lithia p

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ark, there would be a huge increase in the amount of visitors during the Shakespeare festival verses over December break. Another example of this is fishing can only take place when the water is at a certain level. In this extending the shakespeare festival to include the winter, or to pay to keep water levels at a minimum requirement, would prove to bring in more active use on the site.

Surveying

Another method to help determine the active use value is to conduct a survey over a given community. Surveying can easily help determine how many people actually visit the site, how frequently, how much time they spend on the site, and how much money they spend in an average trip to the site. These things combined can be a very clear method in order to determine how much a site is currently used. However there are a lot of issues with surveys, as many people will claim an amount in theory that they have spent but in actuality the case may be very different. Despite this though, it is a generally good method toward determining an open space's active use.

Farmland

An obvious method to determine current use is to measure the value of agriculture on farm land. How intensely the agriculture is used, the type of agriculture and what it produces are all large factors towards determining the value of an open space's active use.

Other Resources

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/NHTOC/NHTOC-V-79-A.htm