Principles of Visitor Management SANParks 10 June 2013


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A one day awareness building shortcourse focusing on principles and insights for managing tourism and visitation in protected areass

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Principles of Visitor Management SANParks 10 June 2013

  1. 1. Protected Areas …Special Places …
  2. 2. Key Values
  3. 3. Biodiversity
  4. 4. CulturalHeritage
  5. 5. Spirituality
  6. 6. Scenery
  7. 7. Recreation… and Fun
  8. 8. This is whatManagement is all about…This is what We are allabout
  9. 9. So, how do we protect theseplaces?
  10. 10. But, given all the changes theworld is experiencing …Given all the pressures ofpopulation and consumption…Given all the conflicting demandsfor ecosystem services …Protected areas don’tprotect themselves
  11. 11. How we go about providingopportunities for high qualityvisitor experiences whileprotecting the resource?
  12. 12. Presented byStephen McCoolThe University of MontanaMissoula, Montana
  13. 13. Shortcourse Goals Understand consequences of growing tourist demandfor South African parks and protected areas Provide a framework for thinking about management Build awareness of the science and practice of visitormanagement A focus more on the why rather than the what or how
  14. 14. ShortcourseOrganization/Procedures Facilitated discussion Participants provide examples, opportunities andchallenges from real world Facilitator provides a sense of principles from theliterature and experience Organization Protected Areas and Tourism in a Changing World Identification of Issues Presentation and Discussion of Principles
  15. 15. Stewardship Responsibilities Developing a vision Protect values and resources Enhance quality of life Provide opportunities for employment and income Designing a pathway to achieve it What actions are effective, efficient, and equitable? Monitoring the journey along the pathway Is what we thought would happen, really happening?
  16. 16. How do we meet these responsibilitieswith respect to tourism and visitation? Use best knowledge available, including science andour experience, we manage:CompetingDemandsJoint LearningRelationshipswithConstituencies
  17. 17. But, we know there are obstacles toaddressing any of the above tasks Funding Politics Organizational learning, technical proficiency Lack of trust Institutional design Procedural orientation
  18. 18. And we know that protected areastewardship exists within A dynamic, often contentious political context, Groups vie and compete for “veto” power overprotected area actions, Disagreements over goals of protected areas exist, There is often scientific uncertainty about cause-effectrelationships, The power to plan and the power to implement plansare often distinct and separated, and Inequities in access to information exist
  19. 19. Thus, protected area stewardship Is a wicked problem Framing the question of management itself isproblematic And a messy situation There are no solutions (e.g., answers) Just resolutions (e.g., agreements) Problems are interconnected Problems return because the context changes Cannot proceed as normal Finally, the future is not like the past
  20. 20. What is the world like? The PLUS world of the past Predictable Linear Understandable Stable The DICE World of the future Dynamic Impossible to understand completely Complex Ever-changing
  21. 21. Small Group Assignment What do you see as the key issue in the provision ofvisitor and tourism opportunities on SANParksadministered lands over the next decade? Short phrases Take 30 minutes Each group reports on three most significant
  22. 22. So, What Principles will Help AddressThese Issues in a DICE World …So We Can be Better Stewards?
  23. 23. Some Principles for Managing Visitorsin Protected Areas – A Preface Making tradeoffs between protection andvisitation/tourism What objective ultimately constrains tourismdevelopment? Determine how much change is acceptable Making tradeoffs, but involves more than just the biophysical,also includes the experiential, how much change is acceptable Principles derived from science
  24. 24. In a Messy World … Need a framework to work through issues, challengesand opportunities Principles help us do the working through Principles are not answers, but they serve as aframework to structure our thinking
  25. 25. Principle 1:Appropriate Management DependsUpon Objectives Objectives tell us what to achieve Help organize action Reflect social agreement on purpose of protectedarea
  26. 26. Objectives Provide Vision of theFuture But, whose future?PresentVarious futuresDesired
  27. 27. Typical objectives “protect the resource” “provide a diversity of recreation opportunities” Do not provide specific enough direction for decisions Do not provide for benchmarks to measure progress Not specific enough, lead to an illusion of agreementwhen in fact there is significant disagreement
  28. 28. What are the characteristics ofgood objectives? Specific – not vague (e.g., protect the resource) Output-oriented – what is the desired result? Type of experience, biophysical condition Quantitative – how to measure the objective so we know ifit is achieved So many people have achieved adventure, challenge, etc. No more than 80% of the campsites have more than 50 sq. metersof barren soil Realistic – the objective is attainable with some effort Time-bound – the time frame for achieving the objective isspecified
  29. 29. Principle 2:Diversity in Biophysical and SocialConditions Is Inevitable and May beDesirable Human induced changes vary by location Such changes also vary in acceptability Is such variation desirable? If so, allocating areas to different opportunities is auseful technique--allocation termed zoning
  30. 30. Example:Expected outcomes for visitors inGlacier National Park Nature appreciation Solitude Introspection Security Challenge/Adventure Group cohesiveness Personal Control
  31. 31. Motivations Occur in Packages Escapists High on personal control and solitude Naturalists Scenery, introspection and wildlife Parkists Introspection, security and personal control Frustrated Solitude Seekers Solitude, security and scenery
  32. 32. Visitor Data Glacier National ParkEscapistsNaturalistsParkistsFrustrated Solitude0.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 30.0 35.0 40.0Percent of Respondents36.714.719.521.9
  33. 33. Variability in AcceptabilityOutdoor Recreation PlanningCapstone 6 -- Fall 2002EscapistsNaturalistsParkistsFrustrated Solitude0.0 10.0 20.0 30.0 40.0 50.0 60.0 70.0 80.0Percent of RespondentsPreferredAcceptablePercent selecting picture with nine or more people, Swiftcurrent
  34. 34. Thus, No such thing as an average visitor!! Acceptability of conditions varies by visitor type Who is the park managed for? Finally, management is driven by variability more thanaverages
  35. 35. Zoning as a means of protection forboth biophysical and social conditions Allocates land to different opportunities andconditions Controls the spread of the types and amounts ofimpacts Protects unique and highly valued opportunities
  36. 36. Principle 3:Management is Directed atInfluencing Human-Induced Change Ecosystems are dynamic, change always occurring Human use occurs within context of change Underlying assumption that human uses threaten parkvalues Protected area planning is directed toward the location,type and intensity of human-induced change
  37. 37. Some Visitor ManagementProcesses for Dealing with Change Carrying (Visitor) Capacity based Frameworks –1960s + Social, Biophysical, Facility Recreation Opportunity Spectrum basedFrameworks Recreation Opportunity Spectrum – 1970s Tourism Opportunity Spectrum – 1990s Water Recreation Opportunity Spectrum – 2000s
  38. 38. Some Visitor ManagementProcesses for Dealing with Change Limits of Acceptable Change based Frameworks Limits of Acceptable Change – 1980s Visitor Impact Management – 1980s Visitor Experience and Resource Protection – 1990s Tourism Optimization and Management Model– 1990s The Benefits Based Management Framework –1990s Placed-based Frameworks – 2000s
  39. 39.  Any level of use leads to some kind of impact Can managers prevent visitor impacts from occurring?Principle 4:Impacts on Resources and SocialConditions are Inevitable Consequencesof Human Use
  40. 40. What is the relationship betweenuse level and impact?Use LevelImpact
  41. 41. Given this relationship … How much change is acceptable? How would you decide? Is this a technical question or a value judgment?
  42. 42. But, Setting Standards Means MakingChoices Among Visitor ExperiencesUse LevelImpactWhat standard should we use?How do we decide?Setting standards is a function ofhuman values.
  43. 43. Principle 5:Impacts may be Spatially orTemporally Discontinuous Impacts often occur offsite Impacts may take a long time to appear Secondary and tertiary effects difficult to ascertain andattribute Need to think regionally, the Whack a MolePhenomenon
  44. 44. An example Campsite impacts too high, Thus, closing campsites to reduce impacts seems to be areasonable action. But, didn’t work Visitors create new campsites Thus, the total impact is actually larger This represents a focus on the event (campsiteimpacts, not understanding the system)
  45. 45. A “Fixes that Fail” SystemCurrent CampsiteConditionDesiredConditionGapClose CampsitesPeople createnew campsitesDelayDelayUnintendedConsequence
  46. 46. Principle 6:Many Variables Influence theUse/Impact Relationship Use level may be important in influencing amount ofimpact, but Other variables often more significant behavior season type and size of group biophysical characteristics
  47. 47. Principle 7:Many Management Problems areNot Use Density Dependent Visitors seek many different things during a visit to aprotected area Motivations such as solitude, adventure, learning,appreciating and learning about nature, familycohesiveness not all of the above are adversely affected by number ofvisitors Other problems--littering, etc.
  48. 48. Principle 8:Limiting Use is Only One of ManyManagement Options Limiting use may be one management tool, but … It may not be effective in dealing with problems It controls use levels, but does it control impacts The problem of problem displacement
  49. 49. Managers have a box of “tools” available,but … to what extent do we want regulationand intrusive measures?
  50. 50. How Systems Thinking Can Help AvoidTraps when Limiting UseLimit UseUnacceptable ImpactsVisitor Behavior andDevelopment PatternsSide Effects:Implement More RulesShift Use ElsewhereImpact Visitor Experience
  51. 51. Principle 9:Monitoring is Essential toProfessional Management Periodic remeasurement of key information variablesor indicators Followed by evaluation and reflection Key attributes feasible objective timely
  52. 52. Monitoring Plan is an Essential Partof Management Description of procedures How data will be analyzed, displayed and evaluated How does monitoring data influence planning andmanagement? Personnel assignments
  53. 53. Monitoring Principles Where conditions are at or in violation of standards Where conditions are changing rapidly Where values are threatened by visitation Where effects of management are unknownSource: Cole 1989
  54. 54. Principle 10:The Decision-Making ProcessShould Separate TechnicalDescription from Value Judgments What is is not necessarily what should be Separate inventory from decisions about what shouldbe done in time
  55. 55. Principle 11:Consensus among Affected Groupsis Needed for Implementation Shared problem definition Problem can be resolved through public involvement Inclusive Live with results Knowledge distributed equally Permission to act
  56. 56. SuccessfulManagementTechnicalProcessPublicEngagement
  57. 57.  Implementation of plan Understanding social acceptability Representativeness Learning Ownership Relationships
  58. 58.  Many visitor management issues confrontingSANParks Principles serve as a framework for thinkingthrough Not answers, but ways to reflect In the long run, reflection leads to moreefficient management
  59. 59. Thank YouStephen.McCool@umontana.eduPerspectives on Protected Area Planning