Monitoring Outdoor Recreation in the Nordic and Baltic Countries

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This is the final report of the project "Visitor Monitoring Methods in the Nordic and Baltic Countries". The goal of the project was to develop visitor monitoring methodologies for Nordic and Baltic land management agencies, the work of which is related to visitor management in protected and recreational areas. The report provides an overview of the visitor monitoring methods and guidelines currently available, including state-of-the-art reports and case studies from the Nordic and Baltic countries. The report concludes that there are certain common variables related to monitoring outdoor recreation that are important to all the Nordic and Baltic countries and that could be standardized. Therefore, the project group continues its work in order to produce recommendations for a common visitor monitoring methodology in protected and recreational areas in the Nordic and Baltic Countries. These recommendations will be published in the form of a Nordic-Baltic manual on visitor monitoring practices.




Fulufjället National Park is located in the county of Dalarna in the southern part of the Swedish mountain region. The park is 380 km2 in extent, primarily featuring a low alpine region with large areas just reaching above the tree-line at 700 metres above sea level. Since Fulufjället is not utilized for reindeer grazing, it has large areas of thick lichen covering the ground which is unique for the Swedish mountain region. The area is also known for its wildlife populations, including bear, moose and nesting birds of prey. Fulufjällets National Park features the highest waterfall in Sweden – Njupeskär. This is a major tourist attraction in the region and the access to the 90-metre high fall is by car or bus to the trail head followed by a three kilometre round trip hike. The waterfall, the trails to the fall and the major park entrance with car parking, cafeteria and a visitor centre are located in the most developed zone of the park. Part of the process to establish Fulufjället National Park was the implementation of four management zones; 1) a wilderness zone, 2) a low-intensity activity zone, 3) a high-intensity activity zone, and 4) a development zone. These zones are an important instrument to meet the objectives of the park and to supply a spectrum of different recreation opportunities. There is a small fishing camp at Rösjön in zone 3, and a network of small cabins and marked trails throughout the park that provides good opportunities for backpacking. Visitor surveys were undertaken at Fulufjället National Park in the summers of 2001 and 2003 – one year before and one year after national park designation respectively. Automatic trail counters were used at four different locations – two at Njupeskär waterfall and two in back-country areas. Based on this data, the number of visitors was estimated at 38,000 in 2001 and 53,000 in 2003 – an increase by almost 40%. Figures reported here refers to the 2003 study (Swedish and German visitors) unless otherwise stated.


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