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The problem of mountain biking as leisure and sporting activity in protected areas

Newsome, D. (2010) The problem of mountain biking as leisure and sporting activity in protected areas. In: Visions and Strategies for World's National Parks and Issues Confronting the Management of the World's National Parks, 2 - 3 August, Hualien, Taiwan

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Mountain biking has grown rapidly as a leisure activity over the last 10 years and is undertaken in a range of outdoor settings and protected areas. Participants can be related to a spectrum of activity that needs to be understood for effective management. At one end of the spectrum lies the family group who are seeking to enjoy exercise in an outdoor setting where cycling speeds are likely to be low to moderate. At the other end are those that seek physically demanding rides and technical challenge as part of the riding experience. Interlinked with this group is a casual user group who are adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers who disregard park regulations, codes of conduct and environmental values. Environmental impacts include loosened track surfaces, soil displacement and liner rut development. Long narrow channels tend to form on trails where tyres depress the soil in wet and damp conditions. The most significant environmental impacts, however, are the development of user created trails and the construction of technical trail features. Such impacts’re of major management concern when mountain bike activity takes the form of adventure racing and competitive events. All forms of mountain biking in protected areas need to be understood, monitored and proactively managed. Furthermore, because of the implications for managers and other more passive users competition racing should not be permitted in the vast majority of national parks and protected areas.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Notes: In: Proceedings of the Conference on Visions and Strategies for World’s National Parks and Issues Confronting the Management of World’s Parks (edited by Yi-Chung Hsu). .National Dong Hwa University, Hualien, Taiwan, pp39-48
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