Natural resource management for recreation development: a methodological approach for route and viewpoint planning in Taiwan
The objective o f this study is to improve the balance between the protection o f a natural resource base and recreation provision within a national park area. This management objective was accomplished by the integration o f data from questionnaire surveys with regression modelling and the use o f a Geographic Information System (GIS). A case study on natural resource and recreation planning was carried out in the Chitou Forest Recreation Area (which has national park status) in Taiwan.Data on the recreation preferences and demands o f visitors were collected and investigated through questionnaires administered in the Park. Three areas were examined: the overall satisfaction with Park visits, the disincentives associated with crowd intensity and landscape component preferences. Visitor opinions were quantified and the relationship between variables and visitor preferences was investigated. The investigation involved the development o f two regression based models, one dealing with overall satisfaction and the other with the impact of crowd intensity on visitor enjoyment. These models were combined with bio-physical and socioeconomic data from the Park including recreational resources, building costs, remoteness preferences and environmental sensitivity factors, and were utilised to plan a new path network system in the park. GIS was used to seek the best development solution which included maximising visitor satisfaction and minimising cost (both financial and ecological).At the GIS analysis stage, IDRISI Multiple Criteria Evaluation (MCE), a decision support tool for multiple objective planning was adopted for three development scenarios designed to meet the different considerations o f park management. Having identified the best potential additional viewpoints, a new pathway through these favoured areas was designed from a start point and end point which joined with the current path system. By this methodological approach, recreation preferences were quantified and integrated with GIS, and applied into recreation planning. The new pathway design met the Parks’ recreation development objectives o f low cost, abundant recreation resources, high satisfaction and ease o f access.