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An approach to evaluating the impacts of mountain bike activity in natural areas: the case of John Forrest National Park, Western Australia

Newsome, D. and Davies, C. (2008) An approach to evaluating the impacts of mountain bike activity in natural areas: the case of John Forrest National Park, Western Australia. In: Australian Protected Areas Congress, Protected areas in the century of change, 24 - 28 November, 2008, Twin Waters, Queensland.

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    Abstract

    Recreational mountain biking in natural areas can cause physical degradation to the environment through informal trail development, informal 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 measure the physical degradation of trails, many impacts of mountain biking have not been included sufficiently in the research. Following a review of the literature and field testing it was determined that general trail assessment methods had limitations in interpreting the specific impacts of mountain biking in natural areas. Such methods determine the general condition of a trail but do not adequately quantify the impacts of mountain bike specific impacts such as informal trail development and trail modifications. Managers require a tool by which they can quantify impacts specific to mountain in natural areas in order to protect these environments through targeted management. A rapid assessment tool, using GPS and GIS, was developed to quantify the effects of mountain biking in natural areas. The tool 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 bikers creating informal trails and modifying 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 informal trails and trail modifications. It also provides management with informative and interpretive maps of the impacted area.

    Publication Type: Conference Paper
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
    Publisher: APAC
    Copyright: (c) authors
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/2887
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