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Franklin River rafters and other western Tasmanian wilderness parks users : their characteristics, experiences and attitudes as inputs to management

Carlington, Bernard(Bernard Gerard) 1988 , 'Franklin River rafters and other western Tasmanian wilderness parks users : their characteristics, experiences and attitudes as inputs to management', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Tasmania's Franklin - Lower Gordon Wild Rivers National
Park, together with the other Western Tasmanian Wilderness
Parks, was entered onto the United Nations World Heritage
List in 1982. Encompassing one of the largest south
temperate wilderness areas in the world, these three
contiguous parks provide opportunities for a range of
recreation activities from vehicle-based sightseeing to
extended wilderness white-water rafting.
Recreational pressures on all of the parks are increasing
and they are now being seen, not only as reserves of major
biological and ecological importance, but also as important
components of an increasingly tourist based economy.
Both development within the parks to support recreational
use and their general management have been intuitively based
and until recently the acquisition of visitor data for
planning purposes has been a very low priority. It is
contended that, in the face of increasingly scarce resources
and the need to provide a recreation environment that will
allow maximum visitor satisfaction consistent with the
conservation of the parks, the planning process must take
due account of the nature of the recreation experience and
the objectives of participants.
The purpose of this study is to provide management
information for use in that process and the approach is
based upon the premise that individuals choose to
participate in recreation activities within selected
physical, social, and managerial environments for the
purpose of attaining pre-determined satisfactions or
outcomes. It further presupposes that the focus of the
management effort should be the provision of opportunities
for the pursuit of such satisfactions. Successful management
therefore requires an understanding of the satisfactions or
outcomes that participants associate with the opportunities
provided and the implementation of management prescriptions
that contribute to the attainement of those satisfactions
consistent with the overall policies of the agency.
The immediate objective of the study was to determine the
use and user profiles of the wilderness parks with an
emphasis on the newest, the Franklin - Lower Gordon Wild
Rivers National Park; to determine the nature of the
satisfactions associated by visitors with the opportunities
afforded by the parks and with particular defined activity -
setting complexes; to investigate the existence of
differences between selected subgroups of rafters and their responses to selected management options; and to examine the relationship between the satisfactions and valued outcomes
of current participants and their views on appropriate
management directions.
The research instrument selected was the self-administered
questionnaire completed by a total of 1969 participants from
all of the parks. A further 1028 participants completed a
more lengthy form which included a section consisting of 62
attitudinal scales reflecting possible outcomes associated
with participation. Of these 633 were rafters on the
Franklin - Lower Gordon Wild Rivers.
Analysis undertaken on the basis of the park where contact
was made revealed that, with the exception of the Franklin
-Lower Gordon, the patterns of use and visitor
characteristics were essentially similar with the dominant
use being vehicle-based, short-duration activities centred
around the visitor service areas. Again with the same
exception, the opportunities and outcomes associated with
each of the parks were essentially similar with those
satisfactions arising out of exposure to natural
environments rating most highly followed by those arising
from in-group social interaction and physical exercise. The
Franklin - Lower Gordon Wild Rivers National Park differed
in that outcomes associated with achievement and risk taking
figured more prominently.
Six broadly defined activity settings were established on
the basis of visit duration, activity, and maximum possible
penetration into the parks. These were labelled:
sightseeing, picnicking, daywalking, developed area camping,
bushwalking and rafting. On the basis of participant scoring
of the outcome scales, only three clearly distinguishable
activity settings emerged, each with an identifiably
different pattern of valued outcomes associated with it:
rafting, bushwalking, and a single remaining group of
activity setting complexes the locus of which is confined to
the immediate proximity of the visitor service areas - the
sightseeing, picnicking, daywalking, and developed area
While managerial presence and policy are an integral part of
the resultant setting, the links between the value placed by
participants on the experience outcomes and their views on
management direction are few and weak and do not provide any
clear indication to management of any broadly shared
perception that selected management directions would either
enhance or detract from future availability of opportunities
to pursue particular experiences.
Differences in outcome profiles occurred among subgroups of
rafters with differences showing up between those in
commercially organised parties and others; first time
participants and those with previous expereience; and between males and females. In terms of future management
options, there was a clear perception on the part of rafters
that controls on user numbers would be appropriate as would
controls on other aspects of rafters' behavior including the
use of fuel stoves, axes and saws. There was also a clear
preference for such controls to be exercised prior to entry
into the park.
Three indices of management presence and control were
developed from participants' scoring of possible management
prescriptions and the relationship between participants
scores on these indices and their outcome scores examined.
The results demonstrate again that outcome scores are not
strong predictors of participant views on future management
direction in this environment.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Carlington, Bernard(Bernard Gerard)
Keywords: Wilderness areas
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1988 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1989. Bibliography: p. 346-358

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