Participatory Development of a Recreational Plan for Laulasmaa Landscape Protection Area, Keila Rural Municipality, Estonia

Participatory Development of a Recreational Plan for Laulasmaa Landscape Protection Area, Keila Rural Municipality, Estonia

Mari Ivask (Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia) and Kadri Tillemann (Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2824-3.ch010


The case study in Estonia used automated GPS records to map 2 km and 4 km cycle routes for eco-tourism through a 42 ha protected area. Local authorities, NGOs and citizens participated with great interest in the socio-economic survey and mapping.
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The Estonian case study focuses on the Keila Rural Municipality, located in the northern part of Estonia on the Baltic Sea coast, 25 km west of the capital Tallinn (See Figure 1). The case study area, Laulasmaa Landscape Protection Area, was established in 2005 to protect sandy coast with permanent vegetation, forested dunes and limestone cliff. The total protected area is 42 hectares.

Figure 1.

The location of the Laulasmaa Landscape Protection Area in Estonia

There are about 1000 inhabitants in the proximity of the project area, including 300 within 2 km. The area is popular among visitors from outside the Keila rural municipality, especially in summer as it is located on the coast and is bordered by a road. In addition to the environmental value this area has significant recreational value.


The Socio-Economic And Mapping Projects

In order and to organize recreational activities to best meet the needs of walkers, joggers, bicyclists, skiers, anglers, etc., and to avoid damage to the protected areas, suitable routes and areas for recreational movement had to be mapped. The mapping of paths for recreational use aimed to accommodate relevant protection regimes while also consulting local inhabitants. The main objectives of the project were to find out inhabitants’ current uses of the area, their awareness of conservation values and the information types and sources needed concerning the case study area, with mapping results to gather feedback and ideas for choosing between different alternatives.


The Laulasmaa case study was carried out in late summer of 2010. Before mapping, the standard case study survey was carried out among 20 respondents in Keila Rural Municipality where the case study area is situated. The help of Laulasmaa Open Youth Centre volunteers was used to carry out face-to-face interviews; some responses were gathered by e-mail. After preparing relevant base data, bicycling club Velo Clubbers mapped for bicycles during two weeks in August 2010. Paths of adequate length had to be fitted into the area, using existent routes and sparing the protected area features as much as possible. A combination of Garmin Egde705 GPS Bundle and Algiz 7 tablet computer was used by one or two cyclists while riding the most suitable routes for recreational activities, with one team member inserting relevant data into the computer. After mapping the tracks, a local civic society (MTÜ Lohusalu Selts) carried out a further survey to add value to the mapping project and safeguard its future usability in decision making processes. The attitude of local inhabitants’ towards the area, their awareness of protected habitats and recreational preferences were surveyed by another local NGO.


Three groups of stakeholders were involved: (1) local authorities, including members of the local municipality council and government officials, participated in planning the project, preparing it, carrying it out and providing relevant data; (2) the local civil society, including local NGO Laulasmaa Open Youth Centre (which was responsible for surveying local inhabitants) and the regional NGO Velo Clubbers who carried out the path mapping; and (3) the local inhabitants who participated in surveys.

Data Collected

The data collected included TESS questionnaire responses, cartographic data and the results of the survey by the local NGO. TESS questionnaire data were presented in tabulated format with explanatory analysis. The preparation phase involved collecting relevant data on the mapping area from administrative documents and a variety of maps, including aerial photos, basic map layouts and Google map images. Alternative cycling routes were identified, including coordinates, altitude profiles and vector linear data converted into MapInfo format and converted in Estonian Basic Map layout.


Some bottlenecks were encountered during mapping: the accessibility of statistical data was mostly at national or regional level and not on municipality or smaller community levels. In addition, cartographic data for the mapped area were fragmented and presented in different formats, which made it challenging to combine all the relevant data.

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