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A case study in estimating the area of informal trail development and associated impacts caused by mountain bike activity in John Forrest National Park, Western Australia

Newsome, D. and Davies, C. (2009) A case study in estimating the area of informal trail development and associated impacts caused by mountain bike activity in John Forrest National Park, Western Australia. Journal of Ecotourism, 8 (3). pp. 237-253.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14724040802538308
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Abstract

Mountain biking has increased rapidly as a recreational activity and constitutes an additional pressure on trail networks in protected areas. Furthermore, in part to a lack of dedicated mountain bike trails in natural areas, physical degradation to the environment has occurred as a result of informal trail development, non-approved modification of existing trail systems, erosion and disturbance to native vegetation. Although previous studies have tried to quantify the impacts of mountain bikes in natural areas, using general trail assessment methods to assess the physical degradation of trails, many impacts of mountain biking have not been included sufficiently in the research on trails. Because of rising demand for access to trail networks, managers require a tool by which they can quantify impacts specific to mountain biking in natural areas in order to protect these environments through targeted management. A rapid assessment tool, using global positioning system and geographic information system, was developed to quantify the effects of mountain biking in natural areas. The technique was tested in John Forrest National Park, a popular place for recreational mountain biking in the peri-urban area of Perth, Western Australia, where mountain bikes creating informal trails and modifications to existing trail systems is acknowledged as a problem by Park management. This assessment tool can effectively quantify the actual area impacted by the creation of mountain bike-specific informal trails and trail modifications. It also provides management with informative and interpretive maps of the impacted area.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Taylor & Francis.
Copyright: © 2009 Tavlor & Francis.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/2583
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