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Management Frameworks and Settings

Park agencies worldwide are faced with increasing demands for their facilities and services coupled with declining finances and human resources, which poses many management challenges. The ability to develop more comprehensive, relevant park management and decision making systems to facilitate efficient, effective allocation of resource has become increasingly important.Read more

Park agencies worldwide are faced with increasing demands for their facilities and services coupled with declining finances and human resources, which poses many management challenges. The ability to develop more comprehensive, relevant park management and decision making systems to facilitate efficient, effective allocation of resource has become increasingly important. Recent research by the Sustainable Tourism CRC on strategic park management has focussed on:

  • evaluating best practice and management benchmarks for the strategic management of protected areas, and
  • developing a framework guiding park management agencies in the strategic management of protected areas.

The following protected area matrix provides one possible framework for guiding park agencies in the strategic management of protected areas. It is labelled as an ‘integrated park management model’ and describes the conceptual relationship between managing tourism/recreation (a service orientation) and managing the conservation values of parks. In the matrix below, the X axis measures environmental value where the higher the environmental value, the greater the need to protect natural assets. The Y axis measures human value where higher human value implies a greater emphasis on servicing visitor needs.

 

Source: Inglis et al, 2005, Best Practice in Strategic Park Management, Sustainable Cooperative Research Centre

It draws on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) classification of parks, which takes into account both environmental significance and the volume of human visitation. The IUCN provides a 6 level global protected area management categories. Recreation and tourism are purposes that are accommodated in all except one of the IUCN categories. There are 56 different types of terrestrial protected area and 17 types of marine protected area across Australia reflecting the diversity of purposes for their establishment. While most park agencies in Australia use the IUCN system to classify national parks and protected areas, there is a lack of consistent sub-classifications or specific use purposes identified for parks with high visitor use such as urban, regional and recreational parks and some national parks. A consistent classification system across all park types, based on sound scientific research, would help ensure a sustainable park system.

As such, these IUCN categories underpin the proposed integrated park management model.
Four quadrants are apparent from the matrix suggesting a ‘prototype’ classification system for parks in Australia:

 

  1. High Use Urban Parks, with a strong emphasis on servicing visitors and less emphasis on ecological integrity. Examples in Victoria include Kings Park and Albert Park.
  2. Low Use Urban Parks, with a limited emphasis on both servicing visitors and ecological integrity. For example, low-grade regional parks and reserves.
  3. High Use Protected Areas, with a strong emphasis on both ecological integrity and servicing visitors. Examples in Victoria include Phillip Island Nature Park and the Victorian Alps.
  4. Low Use Protected Areas, with a high emphasis on ecological integrity and less emphasis on servicing visitors. Examples in Victoria include the Little Desert and Hattah-Kulkyne National Parks.

 

Source: Inglis et al, 2005, Best Practice in Strategic Park Management, Sustainable Cooperative Research Centre

 

At a destination or site level in Western Australia, park managers develop visitor management settings. These are based on the ROS (Recreation Opportunity Spectrum) and combine an understanding of visitors and their needs (i.e. the needs and wants of visitors that use these settings) with the biophysical capabilities of the site to classify and then manage recreation sites as setting classes. These setting classes then determine the appropriate level of site development.

 

An example of visitor management settings and classes can be found in the Western Australian Walpole Wilderness Management Plan 2008.


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