AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

Visitor impact management in canyons of the Blue Mountains, New South Wales

by Nigel John Hardiman

Institution: University of Western Sydney
Degree: PhD
Year: 0
Keywords: environmental impact analysis; environmental management; ecotourism; canyoneering
Record ID: 1045355
Full text PDF: http://handle.uws.edu.au:8081/1959.7/9


There is concern that canyoning, which has grown in popularity in recent years, may not be environmentally sustainable within the Blue Mountains National Park. Sociomanagerial research was undertaken, using an initial focus group discussion and subsequent surveys. Canyoners were found to participate in their sport predominantly in small groups in relatively few canyons, were generally experienced, did not feel crowded by other people encountered, and displayed little evidence of displacement behaviour from popular locations. No specific biophysical impacts were perceived as serious. Canyoners generally supported management action to control visitation to canyons if overuse could be demonstrated, with education and/or restrictive actions as preferred management strategies. Biophysical research was undertaken to test a potential rapid assessment bioindicator for measuring and monitoring potential visitor impacts. Macroinvertebrate data were analysed and no significant difference in macroinvertebrate assemblage composition or water quality was found between high and low visitation streams. Macroinvertebrate fauna were found to be highly resilient to trampling. Current visitation levels within the canyons appeared to be within ecologiocally sustainable levels. The implications of the findings are discussed for visitor impact management policymaking. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)