Management Planning for Nature Conservation || Preparing an Integrated Plan for Access and Recreation

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<ul><li><p>359</p><p> Abstract The section on preparing a plan for access and recreation should be regarded as an integral component of a full management plan and not as an indepen-dent document. There may be occasions when there is a need to present the section as a stand-alone document, but its relationship with the remainder of the site plan must not be forgotten. One of the key components of the access section is the identi fi cation of the carrying capacity of the site. This is the level of access that can be accommodated without detracting from the quality of the experience that visitors enjoy on the site. There will be two main areas of impact: Visitors can have a direct impact on the infrastructure, landscape and wilderness qualities of a site, for example, paths may become over-wide and unsightly. People can also visit sites in such large numbers that they become a distraction to others. This is particularly important in areas of high landscape or wilderness value. An access objective with performance indicators is required for most sites. Performance indicators for access must be mea-surable and quanti fi ed (i.e. so that they can be monitored), and the data should be easy to collect. The number of indicators should be kept to a minimum, but there should be suf fi cient to provide the evidence necessary to ensure that the quality of the access provisions can be measured. </p><p> 19.1 Introduction </p><p> This section on planning for access is intended for nature reserves and areas man-aged primarily, or in part, to protect nature conservation features. It is possibly less relevant to vast wilderness or semi-wilderness areas, for example, the USA national parks or the large European parks established to protect cultural landscapes, which include a high proportion of inhabited areas. </p><p> The section on access should be regarded as an integral component of a full man-agement plan and not as an independent document. There may be occasions when there is a need to present the section as a stand-alone document, but its relationship with the remainder of the site plan must not be forgotten. </p><p> Chapter 19 Preparing an Integrated Plan for Access and Recreation </p><p>M. Alexander, Management Planning for Nature Conservation: A Theoretical Basis &amp; Practical Guide, DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-5116-3_19, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013</p></li><li><p>360 19 Preparing an Integrated Plan for Access and Recreation</p><p>1. What should we do?(policy)</p><p>2. What have we got?(description)</p><p>3. What could we do? (evaluation &amp; options)</p><p>5. What do we want?(objectives)</p><p>Review management</p><p>6. What must we do?(action plan)</p><p>Monitor access Implement management</p><p> Fig. 19.1 The structure of the access section in relation to the entire plan </p></li><li><p>36119.1 Introduction</p><p>Policy</p><p>Description</p><p>Evaluationnature</p><p>conservation</p><p>Evaluationearth science</p><p>features</p><p>Evaluationculturalfeatures</p><p>Evaluationaccess</p><p>(tourism)</p><p>Evaluationstakeholders</p><p>Natureconservation</p><p>feature</p><p>Natureconservation</p><p>feature</p><p>All managem</p><p>ent, re</p><p>cording,</p><p> monito</p><p>ring a</p><p>nd administration proje</p><p>cts</p><p>Geological feature</p><p>Stakeholders</p><p>Accessoption</p><p>Geologicalfeature</p><p>Culturefeature</p><p>Culturefeature</p><p> Fig. 19.2 The relationship between evaluation, features and the adaptive cycle </p></li><li><p>362 19 Preparing an Integrated Plan for Access and Recreation</p><p> 19.2 The Contents of an Access Section </p><p> The sections in a management plan which contain information relevant to access (The sections in bold are general sections with some access information. The </p><p>remainder are speci fi c access sections.) 1 Plan Summary 2 Legislation &amp; Policy 3 Description </p><p> 3.4 People Stakeholders, Access, Etc. (section in the main description) 3.4.2 Access</p><p> 3.4.2.1 Visitor Numbers 3.4.2.2 Visitor Characteristics 3.4.2.3 Visit Characteristics 3.4.2.4 Access to the Site 3.4.2.5 Access Within the Site 3.4.2.6 Visitor Facilities and Infrastructure 3.4.2.7 The Reasons Why People Visit the Site</p><p> 3.6.2.7.1 Wildlife Attractions 3.4.2.7.2 Other Features That Attract People 3.4.2.7.3 Recreational Activities </p><p> 3.4.2.8 Current and Past Concessions 3.4.2.9 Stakeholder Interests 3.4.2.10 The Site in a Wider Context </p><p> 3.4.3 Interpretation and Information 3.4.4 Educational Use </p><p> 5 Access Section</p><p> 5.1 Evaluation 5.1.1 Actual or Potential Demand 5.1.2 Accessibility of the Site 5.1.3 Access Within the Site 5.1.4 Site Safety 5.1.5 Implications of Stakeholder Interests 5.1.6 Carrying Capacity of the Features 5.1.7 Carrying Capacity of the Site 5.1.8 Availability of Resources 5.1.9 Summary of the Evaluation </p><p> 5.2 Access Option 5.3 Access Objective</p><p> 5.3.1 Vision 5.3.2 Performance Indicators &amp; Monitoring </p><p> 5.4 Status &amp; Rationale 5.4.1 Status </p></li><li><p>36319.2 The Contents of an Access Section</p><p> 5.4.2 Rationale 5.4.2.1 Legislation 5.4.2.2 Access to the Site 5.4.2.3 Access Within the Site 5.4.2.4 Visitor safety 5.4.2.5 Seasonal Constraints 5.4.2.6 Public access 5.4.2.7 Excessive demand 5.4.2.8 Visitor infrastructure 5.4.2.9 Information 5.4.2.10 Interpretation 5.4.2.11 Education </p><p> 6 Action Plan </p><p> Important: The remainder of this chapter follows the numbering system given above as used in a management plan, and not the sequence used elsewhere in this book.</p><p> 1 Plan Summary Access Section </p><p> When there is good reason for preparing a large section on access in a management plan, and particularly if there is a need to use the section as a stand-alone document, a summary should be included. The summary contains a succinct outline of all the main subsections in the access plan. This should be suf fi cient to provide readers with a rapid overview and understanding of the main provisions in the plan. </p><p> 2 Legislation &amp; Policy Access Section </p><p> This section can be included within a subsection of the management plan that deals entirely with access, or, alternatively, it can be placed in the general policy section. Please refer to Chapter 11 , which provides full guidance on dealing with legislation and policy. </p><p> 2.1 Legislation </p><p> The planning and management of all sites will be in fl uenced by legislation. This will include Health &amp; Safety, Public Liability and other general legislation which relates to a duty of care for all visitors. For example, in England and Wales, as a consequence of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, it is unlawful for a provider of services to discriminate against a disabled person. Reserves that allow public </p></li><li><p>364 19 Preparing an Integrated Plan for Access and Recreation</p><p>access are providers. This means that site management must make reasonable pro-visions for disabled people. </p><p> In addition, there will usually be some speci fi c legislation in respect of access to the countryside. The following are examples of British countryside legislation:</p><p> Rights of way. These are usually minor routes that exist for the bene fi t of the community at large. Historically, they were an integral part of the countrys transport system, but they have long since evolved into a recreational web which enables people to explore the countryside. Where these rights of way pass through a site, with few exceptions, they must be kept open at all times. Access to open countryside. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 provides a statutory right of public access on foot for informal recreation over mountain, moor, heath, down and all registered common land. Maps show where rights over open country and registered common land under Part 1 of the CRoW Act apply. The implications of a site falling within an open access area are obvi-ous: the pubic has right of access. Limited restrictions can be applied to protect sensitive wildlife. </p><p> This section of the plan must contain reference to all legislation that has implica-tions for site access and particularly for the safety of visitors. This is not the place to discuss the implications of the law. </p><p> 2.2 Policy </p><p> The development of the access, public use and tourism section of the plan is entirely guided by policy, and policies must re fl ect legislation. This section should describe all organisational, and any other, policies that have relevance to access provisions on the site. Much of the following evaluation is concerned with assessing the extent to which organisational policies can be met on individual sites. Local conditions, for example, dangerous features, fragile wildlife, inaccessibility, etc., can signi fi cantly in fl uence the ability to meet policies. </p><p> The following is an example of the access policies from a UK government organisation which has a responsibility for managing a large number of nature reserves:</p><p> The sustainable public use of the National Nature Reserves will be encouraged in so far as such use: </p><p> Is consistent with our duty to maintain or restore the nature conservation and geological features to Favourable Conservation Status Does not expose visitors or staff, including contractors, to any signi fi cant hazards </p><p> All legitimate and lawful activities will be permitted in so far as these activities: </p><p> Are consistent with our duty to maintain or restore the nature conservation and geological features to Favourable Conservation Status </p></li><li><p>36519.2 The Contents of an Access Section</p><p> Do not expose visitors or staff, including contractors, to any signi fi cant hazards Do not diminish the enjoyment of other visitors to the site This next example is the general policy which was used in a management plan </p><p>for a Ugandan national park. It demonstrates the relationship between an access policy and the other park policies (Alexander et al. 2000 ) .</p><p> The Kidepo Valley National Park will be managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority with the prime purpose of sustaining viable habitats and their associated wildlife populations in the long term. All other functions, including tourism, are secondary. All parts of the Park, including both the Narus and Kidepo Valleys and those moun- tainous areas within the boundaries, will be managed to contribute towards sustaining viable habitats and their associated wildlife populations in the long term. The Park will, in the future, serve as a reservoir of wildlife resources for Uganda and speci fi cally for re-colonisation of other suitable protected areas. The outstanding landscape and wilderness qualities will not be compromised. All management operations, including the provision of facilities for tourists, will be designed to minimise their impact on the Park. Sustainable and appropriate levels of tourism will be encouraged in so far as this provision is compatible with maintaining the landscape and wilderness qualities and the associated wildlife. </p><p> All relevant policies should be included in this section of the plan. The areas which are of particular relevance to the site and the plan should be highlighted. </p><p> Access policy (strategy) for a suite of sites There are many reasons for attempting to prioritise access provisions over a suite of sites. The most usual is insuf fi cient resources. If an organisation attempts to spread resources too thinly over a number of sites it is unlikely that anything of real value will be achieved anywhere. A strategic approach is essential when an organisation aims to ensure that each individual site within a suite of sites is managed in the most appropriate way to meet organisational policies. There is no need, or justi fi cation, to do everything everywhere. </p><p> A full analysis of the access potential of all sites should be completed. Each site should be examined against a range of criteria; these will be more or less the same as those used to evaluate individual sites. They will include, for example, accessibility of the site, accessibility within the site, safety, fragility of features and site fabric, features of public interest, current public use, facilities and provi-sions, and suitability to meet other organisational objectives. Clearly, the ideal way of obtaining an overview would be to prepare access plans for each site. Unfortunately, even the cost of preparing the simplest access plan can be prohibi-tive for some organisations. An initial assessment, based on the above evaluation criteria, would identify the priorities for the subsequent preparation of manage-ment plans. </p><p> The following is an example of a strategy identifying the priorities for access provisions applied to a suite of National Nature Reserves in Wales. The priorities </p></li><li><p>366 19 Preparing an Integrated Plan for Access and Recreation</p><p>were developed by considering each site against a list of criteria similar to those mentioned above (CCW 2004 ) . The NNRs in Wales can be divided into three categories: </p><p> (a) Sites where access is a major issue This group comprises some of the most important tourist attractions in Wales. </p><p>These sites, with few exceptions, attract very large numbers of people regard-less of their status as nature reserves. Unfortunately, with the exception of sev-eral key well-known sites, the access potential of some sites in this group has not been realised. These sites provide ideal opportunities to promote the value of the National Nature Reserves, nature conservation and the countryside. </p><p> Resources will be made available to optimise public use of these sites and to ensure that an appropriate infrastructure is in place. In many cases, the car-rying capacity of this group of sites will have been reached, and there will be no justi fi cation for increasing the number of visitors. However, there should be scope for improving the quality of the visit on some sites. The completion of the access sections of the management plan for these sites is given the highest priority. </p><p> (b) Sites where access is important but where, for a variety of reasons, there are relatively few visitors </p><p> These may not be the most important tourist sites, but they are very important sites for local people and those who are particularly interested in the countryside and wildlife. Many have an underdeveloped infrastructure, and few have any signi fi cant provisions for visitors. The importance of this group of sites must not be underestimated as they provide obvious opportunities for development. </p><p> Wherever possible, access to these sites will be improved. A full and fresh appraisal of these sites is required and will be undertaken as part of the site man-agement planning process. Plans for these sites will be prepared once plans for the category a sites have been completed. </p><p> (c) Sites where there is little public interest...</p></li></ul>

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