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Recreational Access Management Planning: Understanding Perceptions Regarding Public Forest Lands in SW Alberta

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DOI: 10.4236/ojf.2015.54033    3,300 Downloads   3,981 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Management of recreational access on public forest lands is a complex issue of growing global importance. The provision of public recreation opportunities is part of the suite of ecological goods and services that must be considered by many forest managers. Effective access management is predicated on understanding the attitudes and perceptions of recreation users in order to predict and influence visitor behaviour and gauge the acceptance of new management strategies. Potential access management strategies vary given the nature of recreation activities and include: restricting the amount, type, and spatial distribution of use, visitor education, temporal restrictions and enhancing site durability. In this research we examined the views of recreation users on public lands in southwestern Alberta, Canada through implementation of an online survey (n = 945) with a focus on access management options. The results indicate a strong belief that the quality of the recreation experience is declining and that increased management and enforcement are required. More detailed analysis indicates that demographic and user-type variables strongly influence ideas about appropriate management. Forest managers need to engage with, understand, and respond to a wide variety of recreation user needs and preferences.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Haddock, R. and Quinn, M. (2015) Recreational Access Management Planning: Understanding Perceptions Regarding Public Forest Lands in SW Alberta. Open Journal of Forestry, 5, 387-401. doi: 10.4236/ojf.2015.54033.

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