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National Park visitors

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Offline nick

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« on: February 09, 2008, 14:50 PM »
Article in today's Guardian on a study in the US, Japan and Spain about the decline in visitors to national parks

Wilderness under threat as visitors stay indoors

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/feb/05/conservation

Quote
Oliver Pergams, a biologist at the University of Illinois, and Patricia Zaradic of the US Environmental Leadership Programme, compared records of visits with dozens of national parks, state parks and other public land across the US, Japan and Spain. They also analysed US licence applications to hunt deer, fish and shoot ducks, as well as surveys on the popularity of outdoor pursuits such as camping and hiking.

They found that the popularity of almost all activities peaked in the 1980s and then went into sharp decline. This drop reverses the trend seen in the post-war decades, which saw a boom in their popularity. Only the number of day hikes has increased. The Spanish data did not show a clear trend, but were for a relatively short period. The study is published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The original abstract is here (no free access I'm afraid).

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0709893105v1?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=Zaradic&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

I had a quick search on the Internet. Visitors to National Park in Spain have certainly massively increased since 1989, though have remained more or less stable since 2000.

1989   
   Total  3.526.602 
1990   
   Total  3.716.183 
1991   
   Total  5.402.412 
1992   
   Total  5.626.557 
1993   
   Total  6.154.747 
1994   
   Total  6.770.250 
1995   
   Total  6.807.890 
1996   
   Total  8.469.074 
1997   
   Total  8.862.218 
1998   
   Total  9.076.653 
1999   
   Total  9.927.726 
2000   
   Total  10.252.799 
2001   
   Total  10.002.517 
2002   
   Total  9.661.493 
2003   
   Total  10.296.382 
2004   
   Total  11.134.880 
2005   
   Total  10.743.480 
2006   
   Total  10.979.470 

This of course only includes visitors to National Parks, not the whole range of other protected sites.
Nick
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Offline Keith

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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2008, 14:05 PM »
I'm just idly wondering how these statistics are compiled. There are only a handful of National Parks (14 acc. to Wikipedia) and though I haven't visited many, I have ventured into Monfragüe several times (at least I think I have, though I'm not sure of the boundaries) and as far as I recall my intrusions haven't been recorded by anyone.
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Offline arvak

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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2008, 00:33 AM »
Hi Keith,

          I was surprised of many forest guards knowledge about the people that walk in many parks. I worked with some of them in the" Sierra Norte" in Madrid because my work base was near the "Hayedo de Montejo" (some of my patients came from this area ) and i could see that the control was not perfect but it was higher than what i supposed.

Arvak

Offline Clive

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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2008, 09:53 AM »
In Grazalema (natural park)... I think some statistics are from hotel occupancy within the park boundary...

The Hikes here that require permission are of course easier to count as details such as country of origin and number of walkers are recorded when you get the permission. Surprisingly I don't think many people enter the restricted areas without permission...

That said, I still don't see how passing visitors that don't stay in a participating stats hotels and don't go on a permission walk can be counted so the statistic figures must be lower than actual visitors?

Here's a list of the national parks from a topic some time ago... Probably needs updating..
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=147.0

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Offline nick

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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2008, 10:53 AM »
Don't they extrapolate?
Nick
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Offline Keith

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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2008, 14:05 PM »
Don't they extrapolate?

If they do it's a bit misleading, the figures being so exact. Extrapolating surely would only be to, say, the nearest thousand?
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Offline nick

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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2008, 15:53 PM »
True. If they do they probably add a percentage to the figure they are sure about...but as you say that should be round figure..
Nick
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2008, 18:32 PM »
Extrapolating would surely be the way they do these things, but having visited many parques nacionales y/o parques naturales over the years, the only time I have been "fichado" was when visiting the Hayedo de Montejo - which has very restricted access. Not quite the same league, but my local park, El Parque del Capricho - open only at weekends and public holidays - is seriously overcrowded (and they now have turnstiles installed) when the weather's fine, but I have been there several times on rainy afternoons and the guards have insisted that we were the first people there all day.

Given that statistics in general are unreliable, hotel figures are notoriously bad as there are several reasons for hotel owners to submit false figures - the occupancy rates bandied about by hotels and corresponding confederations are always far lower than actual figures.

As for figures obtained from licences, huntin' & fishin' figures wouldn't include poachin' figures but I'm sure even poachers have at least a licence. At the risk of heading off-topic, does anyone know if falconers require any sort of licence? 

Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
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Simon

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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2008, 14:26 PM »
Hello all,

Just to add my two-penn'orth! Without seeing the original article I think it's difficult to draw any conclusions from the US and Japanese results, apart from to be aware that the conclusion may be a general phenomenon, i.e. a) that disengagement from the environment is related to non-environmentally friendly attitudes or behaviours, and that b) the 'videophila' and the rise in home entertainment may play a part.

I'm sure I've read somewhere, and I have checked my bookshelves to no avail, that the U.S. model of National Parks is profoundly different to that used here, i.e. the U.S. National Parks are massive centres for the tourism industry, rather in the same way, and indeed a similar scale, that Spain's 'costas' can be seen and a natural 'resource' for European tourists from the frozen north! I don't mean the to be a literal analogy, rather than if one allows for cultural and geographical differences, i.e, the American car culture and the sheer size of the U.S. Thus, part of The American Dream is to roll along the highway in search of 'wilderness' whereas in Europe, if we can claim to have a common cultural 'Dream' is more prosaic (or should that be Prozac >:D) and to do with getting time off work, getting some sun, and getting sloshed! Something which the European tourism industry is supremely competent at providing!

So what you're looking at in the European experience of 'nature' is a) rather more specialised and inherently 'ecological' (and certainly less to do with hunting and fishing) b) more of an adjunct to the 'travel' thing as opposed to being the primary objective.

I think we're all right to be dubious of statistics, doubly so if you agree with what I've just said. So why not try to corroborate with a cultural analysis: check out 'common' US cultural icons from Bugs Bunny to the Simpsons (I'm not joking!) and look at the 'image' of the wild and you have fishing, shooting and big steaks on the barbecue; Bugs destroying Elmer Fudd's rural idyll or having run ins with the 'native' Yosemite Sam! In the Simpsons Homer and Madge's idea of perfect happiness is to get out of town in their car - driving Bart and Lisa crazy in the process.

Compare this with their European equivalents. Well, we don't have cartoons like wot they do, so let's check out sitcoms and soaps: Like their transatlantic counterparts, all are essentially urban, but their 'idyll' is urban too, albeit transposed to a foreign and 'exotic' location. If they go to anywhere 'natural' at all it's either to the predictable 'disaster' like a coach crash of the annual Rover's Return excursion, or to recreate the same 'urban' or rather 'homely' scene, as in Last of the Summer Wine's country pub explorations. Here in Spain, our own 'Cuentame que ha pasado' repeats this theme in the Spanish mileau; the Alcántara family's experiences of the wider world outside their barrio is based on 'pueblo patria', with all that that entails, plus fond memories of the first 'modern' family holiday in Benidorm!

Maybe the marked increase in visits to Parcs Nacionales, even if the statistics are a little unreliable, reflect a very different change her to those i the U.S. - I sure hope so!

Phew - I'm supposed to be writing a book!

Regs

Simon