Recreational potential as an indicator of accessibility control in protected mountain forest areas
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The article presents research findings related to recreational use of forests located in protected mountainous areas with forestage of over 80%. The study was designed to identify recreational potential of the Carpathian national parks (Bieszczady National Park, Babia Góra National Park, Gorce National Park and Magura National Park; southern Poland) and to compare these findings with the actual number of visitors. The information received on the recreational potential of parks is important from the point of view of protection of natural resources and the financial situation of the parks. The calculated ratio may be an effective tool of management for park administration, that allows to reconcile statutory social and protective functions of national parks. The study determined the recreational potential of the forests with the use of recreational valorisation method designed for areas with varied terrain, and the evaluated factors included the stands of trees with their habitat and land relief. The permissible number of national park visitors, expressed as manhour/ ha/year ranges from 19.31 in Bieszczady National Park (BG: 19º 35' E, 49º 35' N) to 32.06 in in Bieszczady National Park (B: 22º 40' E, 49º 10' N). In 3 out of 4 investigated parks, Magura National Park (M: 21°25' E, 49º 30' N), Gorce National Park (G: 20º 10' E, 49º 35' N), B) recreation carrying capacity was not exceeded, whether or not the strictly protected area is taken into account. Only in BG was the recreation carrying capacity exceeded by nearly 24%, or by 85% if the strictly protected area is excluded from tourism-related exploitation. The presented procedure for monitoring access to mountain forests in national parks, from the viewpoint of natural resources conservation, can be applied in other mountainous areas covered with forests and exposed to tourist and recreational traffic, and in forests facing particular risk of recreational damage, e.g. in urban and suburban forests growing in areas with varied orography.
KeywordsForest recreation Recreational capacity Protected areas Mountain forests the Carpathians
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I would like to express my gratitude to the authorities and staff of Bieszczady, Babia Góra, Gorce, and Magura National Parks, for their kind cooperation and for granting permission for the research to be conducted in the Parks. The study was funded by the University of Rzeszów.
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