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University of New South Wales (UNSW) 1994

Wilderness planning and perceptions of wilderness in New South Wales

Ramsay, Alison Jean, T

Titre : Wilderness planning and perceptions of wilderness in New South Wales

Auteur : Ramsay, Alison Jean, T

Université de soutenance : University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Grade : Master of Town Planning 1994

Résumé partiel
Wilderness is still a controversial issue in New South Wales, despite the enactment of the NSW Wilderness Act in 1987 which gave a legislative basis to wilderness as a land use in New South Wales. Although there have been many studies of attitudes to wilderness and wilderness users in United States, there have been few such studies in Australia and none which have questioned the public’s perception of what is wilderness and how it should be managed. The aim of this study was to review the history of wilderness planning in New South Wales, to examine how closely public perceptions of wilderness coincide with wilderness legislation, and to determine whether perceptions of wilderness are influenced by factors such as age, education, previous bushwalking experience or place of residence. Surveys were undertaken of almost 200 visitors to four wilderness areas in Kosciusko and Morton National Parks in New South Wales and to two areas in national parks which were not wilderness, one in Kosciusko National Park and one in Sydney Harbour National Park. Also surveyed were 150 staff responsible for managing national parks in New South Wales. All three groups were asked a range of questions, which included the same ten core questions to determine the respondents perceptions as to the desirability of a range of facilities and activities in wilderness areas. The surveys found that most people supported the protection of wilderness, even though many were confused about whether they had ever visited a wilderness. There was also general agreement that wilderness should comprise natural areas with little evidence of other visitors and that horseriding and cycling were undesirable in wilderness. On other issues however there was a range of responses, both between the groups and between respondents within the one group. Wilderness visitors and park staff were more likely than non-wilderness visitors to consider facilities at campsites and well-constructed walking tracks to be undesirable in wilderness and to support solitude in wilderness. Park staff differed from both user groups by considering no features at all to be desirable and management tracks to be undesirable in wilderness. Wilderness visitors with previous overnight bushwalking experience appeared more likely than those without bush camping experience to oppose management tracks and weil-constructed walking tracks in wilderness. Wilderness visitors from city homes were more likely than those from country areas to consider management tracks and horseriding to be undesirable in wilderness areas. Non-wilderness visitors from the city were more likely to consider solitude and walking tracks only to be desirable and cycling to be undesirable in wilderness.

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