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recreation and tourism

recreational impacts

Demands by growing numbers of visitors for recreation opportunities, as well as the demands of other land uses in the alpine area, have created conflicts and challenges that public land management agencies have to address. The various recreation activities differ in their requirements for types of land, size of area, and site location. They also differ in their impact on the land or on other recreation activities.

Generally, any one activity pursued at a low level of intensity poses little threat to the environment, and seldom conflicts with other activities. With increasing intensity of use, conflicts and challenges begin to emerge.

There is a general recreation pattern that outdoor enthusiasts follow and which leads to potential conflict. After an introduction to an activity in relatively civilised or developed set- tings, the recreationist begins to specialise and seek out increasingly remote settings. For four-wheel- drivers, these are tracks further away from popular roads; for walkers, these are areas remote from vehicle or horse access and from other walkers.

As numbers of recreationists grow, increasing pressures are being placed on the more remote parts of the Alps. More people seek experiences in a setting free of the obvious intrusions of past and present land uses. They want to feel a part of nature, and to be in an environment essentially unaltered by human intervention or presence.

Land management agencies have met this range of needs through zoning for a range of needs from intensive to very remote. At the ‘very remote’ end of this spectrum, in all three States and Territory, there are Wilderness Areas. The main objective of wilderness is to conserve part of the natural environment in as pristine condition as possible.

Part of the value of such areas is that they can provide high-quality, self- reliant rec- reational experiences. Wilderness recreation is compatible with wilderness zoning as it requires land that retains its primeval character and is without improvements or management presence. Wilderness areas in the Alps include several large cross-border zones such as Bimberi Wilderness which links Namadgi and Kosciuszko national parks, and the Pilot and Byadbo wildernesses that are now linked with the Indi, Cobberas and Tingaringy wilderness zones in Victoria. An issue often debated in decision-making about wilderness is just how much of a park can be designated as wilderness as opposed to being available for other uses, including recreation activities. Another discussion point is that of acceptable uses. For example, are activities that involve the presence of an introduced animal, such as horse riding, or the use of firearms, such as deer stalking, acceptable?

Byadbo wilderness


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