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Appropriate policy development and research needs in response to adventure racing in protected areas

Newsome, D. (2014) Appropriate policy development and research needs in response to adventure racing in protected areas. Biological Conservation, 171 . pp. 259-269.

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Adventure racing is a global activity occurring across a range of land tenures. Activities include running, mountain biking, kayaking and rope courses which may be commercially sponsored and involve hundreds of competitors and spectators. This paper raises awareness about the potential environmental impacts of such activities and sporting events taking place in protected areas. Participants in adventure racing are likely to be focused on risky, thrill-seeking activities where the overall goal is to complete the event as quickly as possible. Such a philosophical standpoint and competitive attitude towards the environment is therefore likely to be sub-optimal in terms of such visitors appreciating the natural values and conservation function of a protected area. The rapid increase of adventure racing and its possible impacts on the environment as well as social aspects are thus considered in the context of research needs and policy development. This analysis demonstrates that there is a lack of data concerning the impacts of adventure racing on conservation values, environmental resilience, wildlife disturbance and ecotourism importance where sporting activities take place in a protected area. Because protected areas, such as national parks, play an important conservation and passive recreation function the issue of appropriate use of such lands is a cause for concern. There is a call for a research agenda that explores the approvals process set amongst the context of appropriate park management capacity and existing recreational impacts. There is an urgent need for policy guidelines that can assist managers make the best environmental decisions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
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