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Visitor Incidents in Western Australian Protected Areas, 2011–2017

Gstaettner, Anna Maria (2020) Visitor Incidents in Western Australian Protected Areas, 2011–2017. Wilderness & Environmental Medicine . In Press.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2020.05.006
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Abstract

Introduction
Protected areas in Western Australia are a significant resource base for nature-based tourism and recreation. Visitor incidents are of special interest to managers of these areas because of concerns regarding public safety. The ongoing monitoring and analysis of visitor incidents plays a major role in reducing incident occurrence.

Methods
Incident data recorded by the Parks and Wildlife Service from July 2011 to June 2017 were analyzed for an overview of trends and patterns of incident occurrence. For parks with the highest incident frequency, the level of risk experienced by visitors, combining incident probability and severity, was determined.

Results
A total of 459 visitor incidents were recorded, 77±11 per year. Minor incidents accounted for 48% of incidents, 43% were major, and 8% were fatal. Trip/Slip incidents were most frequent. Fatalities were mostly falls from a height or water-related incidents. Karijini National Park (highest number of incidents) and Ningaloo (highest number of fatalities) were identified as priority areas for managing visitor risk. The greatest individual visitor risk values were calculated for Mitchell River and Karijini national parks.

Conclusions
Recreational injuries are of great concern to the Parks and Wildlife Service in Western Australia. Quantifying and categorizing visitor incidents helps in understanding the trends and patterns of incident occurrence in protected areas, and priority areas for targeted visitor risk management intervention can be identified.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Business
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
Copyright: © 2020 Wilderness Medical Society
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/57463
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