Protection and Usage Balance From the Perspectives of Visitors in National Parks: The Case of Kackar Mountains National Park

Protection and Usage Balance From the Perspectives of Visitors in National Parks: The Case of Kackar Mountains National Park

Gulsun Yildirim (Recep Tayyip Erdogan University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1302-6.ch008
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This study finds out how the balance of use and protection of Kackar Mountains National Park is from the perspective of visitors. In the study, a method based on tourist perception was used by using the website reviews of the tourists. The data was obtained using Trip Advisor, which is one of the most visited travel sites. Website reviews of the tourists for Kackar Mountains National Park is primarily collected through this website. 150 visitor comments were content analyzed. The themes were defined based on the report of Kackar Mountains National Park Directorate. The results show that Ayder plateau is the one which is under high risk related to the protection and usage balance in Kackar Mountains National Park, and it was found that the capacity of the ecological carriage and the administrative / physical carrying capacity were exceeded in that plateau. Ecological indicators have warned against significant danger. Therefore, authorities should take urgent measures as soon as possible.
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Tourist movements, which are constantly increasing all over the world, have caused increased use of resources, air and water pollution and negative effects on ecological environment. Areas that are most adversely affected or threatened by the growing tourism sector are natural environments. When protected areas, such as national parks started to be used for tourism, ensuring the protection and usage balance is of great importance for sustainability. While protecting these areas, visitor rights and quality of the visitor experience should not be ignored. Determining the balance of use and protection can be a means for park managers to initiate the solution process in order to establish a balance, to protect the natural resources in the region before it is too late and to develop solutions for the visitors who are supposed to leave the national park with the best experiences.

Many studies have been carried out to evaluate this issue in terms of national parks and mountainous areas (Sayan& Atik, 2011; Göktug et al., 2013; Demir, 2002; Doganay, 2009; Temizkan& Yıldırım, 2014). Although national parks and mountainous areas are good sources of supply for tourism, there are difficulties in achieving sustainable development worldwide. Different practices are carried out by public, private or other stakeholders to ensure the sustainable development of these areas. In order to ensure sustainable planning and development of destinations, destination management organizations (DMO) work with the cooperation of service providers in destinations. An example of this is the Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis destination in the Austrian Alps (Zehrer et al., 2016). Although DMOs play an important role for sustainable development, visitor surveys in this study show that visitors are not satisfied with the crowd and waiting times in service procurement. In addition, increasing touristic activities in this region raise the concern of increasing construction and intervening in nature. In Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon, non-governmental organizations (NGO) play an important role in the sustainable development of mountainous protected areas (Marlowe and Burke, 2016). In a study comparing the national park management approaches of two protected mountainous areas, one in Italy and the other in Austria (Volgger, Lun and Pechlaner, 2016), it was found that the special approach adopted for protected area management was important in the success of tourism management. The sustainable development of protected areas has several challenges, such as increased visitor management, environmental changes and increased pressure on the environment, and the inability of local people to receive sufficient economic share (Nepal, 2002; Kruk et al., 2007; Nepal and Jamal, 2011).

Although national parks are best places for tourism, tourism can damage these sensitive areas so some extra effort to preserve environmental values is required (Sezgin& Yildirim, 2017). In order to create a balance of protection, tourism activities of the National Park should be controlled, visitors should have good tourist experiences, touristic activities should be audited in the context of sustainability, the environment and the culture of the local people should be protected, the local people should benefit economically and this benefit should be distributed fairly. Thus, the main purpose of this study is to find out how the balance of use and protection of Kackar Mountains National Park in the province of Rize, Turkey from the visitors’ perspectives. In this way, the current situation of the National Park will be evaluated in terms of the visitors’ perspectives and if there are weak points, some solutions to the issues will be offered.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Kackar Mountains National Park Directorate: Official institution of Turkey responsible for organizing, coordinating and controlling activities in Kackar Mountains National Park.

Carrying Capacity: It refers to the maximum number of tourists or visitors that can be accommodated in destination.

Dhkd: Non-profit organization for conservation of natural life.

Protection and Use Balance: It refers to usage and protection of natural resources in balance.

2014-2023 Nature Tourism Master Plan: It is the development plan of nature tourism in Rize prepared by Kackar Mountains National Park Directorate.

Kackar Mountains National Park: It is a national park in the Black Sea Region of Turkey and in which lots of endemic species live.

Trip advisor: It is one of the most visited travel web sites.

Ayder Plateau: It is one of the 33 plateaus of Kackar Mountains National Park and most touristic place in this National Park.

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