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International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 2 (2006) 350–358 Tourism and protected areas: motives, actors and processes 1 2 3 1 Anna Zachrisson , Klas Sandell , Peter Fredman and Katarina Eckerberg Department of Political Science Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden Department of Human Geography and Tourism, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden European Tourism Research Institute, Mid-Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden Key words: Protected areas, nature conservation, tourism, rural development, participation SUMMARY Following the paradigm shift in nature conservation policy towards the inclusion of local inhabitants in the planning and management of protected areas, tourism is emphasised as a means to achieve economic development in peripheral areas. Governance issues and the real impacts from tourism on development are thus often under scrutiny. This article focuses on the role of tourism in the political process of designating protected areas. How does the inclusion of the tourism argument affect designation processes? What kind of tourism is being promoted and how can it be conceptualised with regard to human views of the use of nature? An ecostrategic framework is presented to illustrate the essential land-use choices available. Three cases of protected area designation processes are used to address the issue of tourism: the failure of the Kiruna National Park proposal and the successful implementation of the snowmobile regulation area in Funäsdalen and Fulufjället National Park. The analysis shows that while tourism may increase local acceptance of protected areas, the power of this argument also depends on contextual and process factors. INTRODUCTION Tourism plays an important and increasing role in ‘...protected areashavefor me mostly been ...aminor the economy of the Swedish mountain region, as in hindrance actually, because there have been special rules many other peripheral and rural areas all over the on whether I can work there or not. And I was banging world. While the region’s economy has traditionally my head against the wall when I started, when I spoke been associated with farming, reindeer herding, out and said that I will work with commercial tourism forestry and mining, a decline in these industries and I need a permission to do it in a national park. It has brought expectations regarding tourism to the took almost three years for me to get it.’Anecotourism forefront. The establishment of protected areas in entrepreneur working in the mountain region. this region is also important both for conservation In fact, most current management plans for of nature per se and for attracting tourists from national parks and nature reserves in Sweden still various parts of Sweden and abroad. Nevertheless, ban commercial activities in these areas, and this has many local actors instead perceive protected areas precluded the development of tourism businesses. as barriers to development and recreation: The plans also restrict many activities that people Correspondence: Anna Zachrisson, Department of Political Science Umeå University, SE-901 81 Umeå, Sweden. Email: email@example.com 350 Tourism and protected areas Zachrisson et al. living close to the protected areas feel to be crucial, mainly on empirical material that has been or is such as hunting, fishing and snowmobiling. soon to be reported elsewhere. The Kiruna Currently, a new conservation paradigm is being (Sandell 2005a) and Funäsdalen (Zachrisson 2006, introduced into the Swedish mountain region, first, submitted for publication) cases are based on by the adoption of binding international conserva- qualitative case studies including key informant tion demands and, second, by increased tourism interviews and documentary analysis (official into the region. These processes also fuel demands documentation and newspaper articles). In the from the grassroots for the decentralisation of Fulufjället case, secondary sources are used to some policy processes. About 65% of Swedes support self- extent (Wallsten 2003) together with quantitative or co-management of protected areas (Zachrisson visitor surveys (Fredman et al. 2005; Fredman 2006, 2006). The Swedish government has tried to accom- submitted for publication). In this article, these modate these diversified demands in its new nature data are approached using the two questions out- conservation policy, which emphasises the import- lined above; it thus constitutes a joint effort to ance of protected areas for recreation and eco- understand yet another aspect of the case studies. nomic development, as well as local participation in In addition, new data were collected with a focus the management of these areas (Skr 2001/02). group consisting of stakeholders involved in tour- Studies from the western USA and the UK have ism and/or protected area issues in the mountain identified a positive relationship between regional region (see Esselin and Ljung in this issue). The development and national park establishment quotes in the article originate from this material, (Lorah and Southwick 2003; Moisey 2003; Frentz which was recorded and transcribed to give et al. 2004). In general, protected areas are increas- examples of how stakeholders support views and ingly seen as a tool for the development of peri- conclusions. pheral areas (Machlis and Field 2000). Research in the Swedish mountain region suggests, however, PROTECTED AREAS IN THE SWEDISH that tourism does not have such great potential MOUNTAIN REGION (Heberlein et al. 2002; Lundgren 2005; Lundmark 2005). These results are debated and the issue of The Swedish mountains provide excellent oppor- tourism may still function as a door-opener to local tunities for tourism and recreation in both winter communities by providing income opportunities and summer. For many Swedes, the mountain which could facilitate processes of designating region is a special place (Fredman and Heberlein protected areas. This aspect has hitherto been over- 2005); almost a quarter of adult Swedes visit the looked, as analyses of the new conservation para- mountains each year for recreation and leisure digm have so far concentrated on governance. (Heberlein et al. 2002). The many protected areas More research is therefore needed to decide the cover 24.4% of total land area in the region and are potential of tourism in securing support for the increasingly believed to have potential for the designation of protected areas. development of tourism. In a recent study of the The aim of this article is to analyse the role of Swedish population, Fredman and Sandell (2005) tourism in implementing protected area designa- show that, for most Swedes, protected areas in the tions in the Swedish mountain region. The case mountain region are important for satisfying the study areas are two national parks and a municipal need for nature experiences. About 20% consider snowmobile regulation area. In particular, we asked them very important, an equal amount rather impor- the following questions: How has the inclusion of tant, and 36% think they are somewhat important. tourism influenced the designation processes? Visitation data from the same survey show that 6.5% What kind of tourism has been promoted and how of the adult Swedish population visited a national can this be conceptualised with regard to human park in the mountain region within a single year. views of the use of nature? Europe’s first national parks were established in 1909 in the northern parts of the Swedish mountain range. Following the environmental debate of the METHOD 1960s, the national government identified several This article is a synthesis of research undertaken areas of national interest for nature conservation by scientists from different disciplines, and is based and recreation, many in the mountain region. International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 351 Tourism and protected areas Zachrisson et al. Their purpose was to serve as recreational areas for Since the end of the 1980s, local participation in the general public, and to secure land for recre- the management of protected areas has been ation and support the development of the tourism emphasised. Nature conservation is now supposed industry. A study of the motives for establishing pro- to be done with and for people, instead of the previ- tected areas in the Swedish mountain area from ous protection from people (Zachrisson 2004). 1909 to 2003 shows that conservational and societal A good illustration from the Swedish mountain values have been quite equally represented over region was the strategy shift in 1995 (Sandell time (Eckerberg and Moen 2006). ‘Landscape’ and 2005b) when a conventional national park designa- ‘recreational’ values are as frequently referred to as tion process in Southern Jämtland was replaced by a ‘old-growth forests’ and ‘general ecological values’. proposal based on local conditions, initiated with Since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, however, the the thematic regional synoptic plan as an arena for motive to secure ‘nature experiences’ has strongly discussion. The new paradigm is informed by the increased, while more aesthetic aspects have been concept of sustainable development which aims downplayed. Since 1992, some criteria have been to combine ecological sustainability with socio- especially emphasised, such as ‘educational values’ economic development (Hulme and Murphree and ‘ecotourism’, which indicates a widening view 1999). In terms of nature conservation, this has on the purpose of protection. Nevertheless, conser- included attempts to reconcile the interests of vation values remain strong. Since the mid-20th local communities with those of conservation by century, the area of protected nature in Sweden has pointing to the economic benefits that could follow increased tenfold: today, Sweden has 28 national from tourism development promoted by protected parks and about 2500 nature reserves. Recent areas. Protected areas can be of considerable value changes in Swedish environmental policy imply for nature-based tourism if designation brings increased recognition of social and economic recognition or increased tourism value and there is values in (and around) protected areas (Skr a regulatory framework within which tourism can 2001/02). Key components in this process are local be managed. Recreation and tourism can, in this participation, regional development (e.g. tour- way, be critical to fostering support for protected ism), and recognition of outdoor recreation bene- areas (Goodwin 2000; Staiff and Bushell 2004). fits (e.g. health, environmental education). AN ECOSTRATEGIC FRAMEWORK PARADIGM SHIFT AND NEW One attempt to integrate questions of conservation CHALLENGES and development is the conceptual framework of In the late 19th century, areas regarded as having ecostrategies (view and use of nature) that is briefly particular scenic beauty or uniqueness began to introduced here and used below for discussions of be set aside for exclusive conservation. A world the empirical cases (for further references and pre- standard based upon strict nature protection and sentation see, for example, Sandell 2005a). When a the prohibition of settlement and the exploitation general conceptual framework for discussing con- of natural resources was established (Stevens 1997). servation, place and landscape is sought, a dichot- While there was no place for local people, it was a omy of domination versus adaptation with regard to different matter with tourists, who were welcomed human views and use of nature is often identified in order to benefit from the refuge from the ills of (for examples see Sandell 1988). A parallel division civilisation (Colchester 1997). This confrontation with regard to regional development has been sug- policy has proved ineffective as a conservation gested by Friedmann and Weaver (1979) using the measure in many aspects. It has evoked local resist- concepts of functional and territorial development. ance and has therefore been difficult to implement A major effect of this approach, in many ways since strong monitoring mechanisms are needed similar to centralised and decentralised systems, is (Nepal and Weber 1995; Ghimere and Pimbert that various aspects of social integration (politics, 1997). Even in ecological terms, this policy has economy and culture) are brought into focus failed since biodiversity may even decrease when together with the human ecological issues. human interference (e.g. domestic animal grazing) From this, the ecostrategic framework is con- is interrupted (West and Brechin 1991). stituted as a four-field figure (Figure 1). The 352 International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management Tourism and protected areas Zachrisson et al. Active use and change of landscape A Factory for One´s Home producing District to be activities utilised More of Functional Territorial local participation specialisation adaptation and regional development Domination Adaptation The activity The local The and function landscape traditional is the point of is the point of national park departure departure perspective A Museum for One´s Home external District to be consumption admired Passive viewing, enjoyment, admiration and exploration of the landscape Figure 1 The conceptual framework of four ecostrategies with regard to human relationships to nature and land- scape (adapted from Sandell 2005b) horizontal axis illustrates the dichotomy of func- territorial strategies. The arrow in Figure 1 illus- tional specialisation versus territorial adaptation as trates the paradigm shift in nature conservation points of departure for landscape perspectives – a policy discussed above. basic choice between functional dependence on exchange with other areas and territorial depend- ence on the best use of local resources. The vertical CASE STUDIES FROM THE SWEDISH axis illustrates the dichotomy of the strategies of MOUNTAIN REGION active use versus passive contemplation of the land- The Failure of the Kiruna National Park scape (i.e. a choice between utilisation and conser- proposal vation). The different ecostrategies involve various crucial consequences in terms of democracy, During the late 1980s, there was a debate about environment, views of nature, outdoor recreation, establishing a large national park in the high moun- local development, etc. Even though the different tain area around Lake Torne, close to the town of strategies may appear to be clear-cut categories in Kiruna in northernmost Sweden. It involved two Figure 1, the reality exhibits tendencies and blends smaller existing national parks, a number of involving a greater or lesser degree of passive versus marked trails, mountain huts and the Abisko tourist active landscape uses, and of functional versus centre, and would have been one of the largest International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 353 Tourism and protected areas Zachrisson et al. national parks in Europe (4360 km ). This area has led to the local opposition. It was clearly stated in been important for tourism since the beginning the plan that reindeer herding would not be subject of the 20th century, and in 1976 it was included in to restrictions but, even though generally maintain- the list of Sweden’s 25 primary recreation areas. ing a low profile in the debate, the Sami also Tourism did not, however, constitute a major eco- appeared somewhat sceptical. nomic sector in Kiruna, which is primarily a mining Even though the Swedish EPA organised public community. Reindeer herding by Sami is another meetings in Kiruna and established a working important activity in the area (Swedish EPA 1989; group in which various interested parties were Sandell 2005a). represented, there was such a clash of interests that The main advocates for the park were the the project could not be implemented. The plan Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the national park was shelved for an indefinite and the regional tourist organisation. National period (which continues). In summary, it may be organisations involved in tourism, conservation argued that there was a clash between basically very and the outdoors also seemed to be positive. The different cultural views (cf. ecostrategies above) of objectives of the national park, as put forward by conservation and outdoor recreation represented the Swedish EPA, were closely linked to touristic by advocates and opponents. The combination of perspectives. It would give much larger groups of the tourism sector and the new national park pro- people the opportunity for genuine and first-rate posed by the Swedish EPA as a possibility for the experiences of wilderness-like nature, in an alpine local economy was, to a large extent, perceived by topography with unexploited roadless alpine local residents as irrelevant and representing a heaths and stupendous massifs. The Swedish EPA change in recreation habits. wanted to widen the traditional Swedish view of the national park concept, with inspiration from The Funäsdalen Snowmobile Regulation national parks in North America such as zoning, Area rangers and visitor centres. The ambition was to strengthen the area’s legal protection against Funäsdalen is situated in the southern part of the exploitation, but also to raise its status and visitor mountain range, in western Härjedalen, and is a attraction value and to establish a coordinated popular tourist destination, particularly for cross- administration that was locally based and thus gen- country skiers. Increasingly, people also come for erated jobs. The goal was a high degree of interplay other winter activities such as snowmobiling, which between nature conservation and tourism develop- has resulted in some conflicts. Cross-country skiers ment, including a tourist centre in Abisko with exhi- started complaining about the smelly exhausts and bitions, shops, and a cinema for 220 spectators. the noise of snowmobiles, and local landowners However, resistance at the local level turned out about damage to soil and plantations due to snow- to be strong, as local residents were afraid that their mobiles. In the early 1990s, the County Administra- use of the area would be curtailed, in particular tion Board tried to regulate snowmobiling to solve regarding outdoor activities such as fishing, hunt- these conflicts, but failed because of strong local ing and snowmobiling. These perspectives were resistance. Instead, a local process was initiated and argued for in the local newspapers and at local most of the involved stakeholders – including tour- meetings, in particular by the local hunting and ist entrepreneurs, landowners, Sami reindeer fishing association. A petition, with more than herders and officials – were invited to participate. 15,000 signatures, asserted that the establishment By the end of the 1990s, consensus had been of a Kiruna National Park was a clear intrusion reached on the need for regulations. The munici- upon the right of public access. As Kiruna is tradi- pal snowmobile regulation area was formally tionally a mining society, new employment pros- established in 2000. The regulations state that pects in the area of tourism and service were very snowmobiling is only allowed on trails after paying a unfamiliar for many. This, in combination with a fee, except for local inhabitants who may use snow- tradition of local scepticism towards central author- mobiles to go to a previously agreed site. External ities, e.g. due to previous tensions around the use of funding of SEK 7.5 million assured the construc- snowmobiles and the perceived linkage between tion of an exceptional high-quality trail system the national park concept and a lack of local power, (Zachrisson 2006, submitted for publication). 354 International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management Tourism and protected areas Zachrisson et al. The issue of tourism is key to understanding the involving local and national interests’. The success process in Funäsdalen, not least because the com- is assigned to an ‘inside-out’ process rather than munity is dependent on tourism for employment previously used, and less successful, ‘outside-in’ opportunities. Complaints from tourists were a processes (cf. the Kiruna case above). According to major reason for starting the discussions on snow- Wallsten, the latter process focuses on problems mobile regulations, and the active participation of and regulations of park use, while the former con- tourist entrepreneurs, including snowmobile sell- centrates on opportunities and benefits outside the ers and renters, was essential to change local atti- park. Following a first phase, where a traditional tudes. When even the snowmobile sellers were ‘outside-in’ process was close to failure, the Swedish advocating regulations, snowmobilers who go out EPA initiated the ‘Fulufjället surrounding project’ just for fun were convinced that something needed that evaluated local conditions and then assessed to be done. Their argument was that Funäsdalen the possible benefits of a national park. The loss to should host both cross-country skiers and snow- the local population (in terms of restrictions in use mobilers, and that regulation combined with a of the park area) was balanced against gains from high-quality trail system would satisfy both groups. park opportunities, many of which referred to tour- In this way, they wanted to develop the trademark ism. Growing local acceptance was a basic reason and attractiveness of Funäsdalen even further. for final approval of the park by the municipality This also meant that they aimed to balance more (Wallsten 2003). commercial tourism (such as snowmobile safaris) The realisation of Fulufjället National Park with traditional outdoor recreation such as cross- implied a number of tourism-related investments country skiing. and concepts. Complementary infrastructure was However, tourism was not the only important developed, including a visitor centre, new trails, issue in the snowmobile controversy; there was also and improved signage within and outside the park. the landowners’ struggle for regulations and a Unlike other national parks in Sweden, a Recre- piece of the tourism cake. They took an active part ation Opportunity Spectrum framework (Clark and in the process and resolved legal issues, for instance Stankey 1979) was implemented and communi- whether the Swedish right to public access to both cated as part of the national park designation pro- private and public land for recreation purposes also cess. The management plan divides the park into includes access by snowmobiles. The alliance four zones – the wilderness zone, the low-intensity between two of the strongest economic sectors in activity zone, the high-intensity activity zone, and the area thus succeeded in convincing the local the development zone – with different directions opposition of the benefits of regulation. and measures for exploitation and protection (Swedish EPA 2002). In this way, both demands for protection and wishes for certain recreation The designation of Fulufjället National activities can be satisfied. In the year before and Park after designation, visitor surveys were conducted to Fulufjället National Park is located in the southern- guide the park management plan and further most part of the Swedish mountains. It was desig- development, as well as to monitor changes in nated as a national park in 2002 with the purpose to visitor characteristics, activities and impacts essentially preserve, in an unspoiled condition, a (Fredman et al. 2005, 2006). According to these southern Scandinavian mountain area with distinc- surveys, park visitation increased by 40% following tive vegetation and great natural value. The aim was the designation. Parallel to the national park desig- also to provide experiences of tranquility, isolation nation process, a tourism development project was and purity for visitors in combination with making also implemented with European Union funding. it easier for the public to experience the park’s The park is now jointly promoted as one of the key nature. Tourism was a key factor in changing resist- attractions in the region. Fulufjället is thus con- ance to national park establishment into a favour- sidered by the Swedish government as a good able local opinion. example of how the conservation of nature can con- The establishment of the National Park has been tribute to regional development (Skr 2001/02), described by Wallsten (2003:227) as ‘. . . one of the and the Swedish EPA considers Fulufjället a model best examples in Sweden of conflict management for future national park establishment in Sweden. International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 355 Tourism and protected areas Zachrisson et al. protection would lead to increased tourism and, CONCLUDING DISCUSSION thus, local employment would be generated. In First, it should be noted that the three cases can be Funäsdalen and Fulufjället, the tourism argument placed along a time sequence, with Kiruna in the played an important role in successfully confront- mid-1980s, Funäsdalen next in the early 1990s, and ing initial local protests, and protection measures Fulufjället last at the end of the 1990s. The general could be adopted, while this did not happen in context has undoubtedly changed during this Kiruna. Hence, whether or not tourism was used period (as also outlined in the theoretical con- as an argument, who introduced it, and for what textualisation section), which means that society’s purposes, cannot give a straightforward explana- emphasis on tourism is much higher now than it tion of the outcomes of these processes, even used to be. though it is potentially important. The potential of Using the conceptual framework of eco- a tourism argument is dependent on, or related to, strategies presented in Figure 1, the Kiruna some other factors. national park proposal illustrates the conflict This study shows three major aspects that might between the traditional ‘museum’ park perspective explain the outcomes of the three cases. First of (here somewhat extended towards the ‘factory’ all, the local context of dependency is important: what position through the interest in tourism invest- separates the failure in Kiruna from the two success ments), and the local opposition very much cases is that the proposed national park would have engaged in ‘one’s home district to be utilised’, here been situated close to a town of 25,000 inhabitants through snowmobiles, hunting and fishing. The that was primarily dependent on mining rather successful establishment of Fulufjället National than tourism. Therefore, tourism did not appear as Park could be interpreted as based upon a linkage a necessary complementary source of employment between a modern zoned and tourism-oriented as it did in Funäsdalen and Fulufjället, which are nature reserve, and an extensive development pro- inhabited by about 2400 and 400 people, respec- ject with heavy investment in the surrounding tively, and where there are not many alternative region. Different ecostrategies could be fulfilled at employers apart from tourism enterprises. different locations within the same area, and this, together with external compensation to the local ‘. . . there are also the locals’ own needs for recreation society, made the proposal attractive. The same areas and how they view these values. It is easier to design was also at work in Funäsdalen where the understand this reasoning where they have their regulations separate cross-country skiers from incomes secured anyway, such as in the mining areas. snowmobilers (a kind of zoning) and considerable On the other hand, it is very difficult to understand investments to improve snowmobile trails were this in many other mountain areas where the only possi- made in order to satisfy opponents. In this way, bility to make a living, except reindeer herding, is some most tourists and locals could meet in the upper form of tourism . . . You have to accept to make room for right corner of the conceptual framework (Figure job creation . . . Accordingly, you buy that it is more 1) with the locals as legitimate regulators of how important to create jobs and to get a good quality of the their home district should be utilised (here includ- area than to have total freedom.’ (A representative ing new trails, bridges, etc.). Simultaneously, the from the municipality of Härjedalen.) more museum-like ecostrategy of cross-country The second crucial aspect is how the local popu- skiers could still coexist, using other zones of the lation is approached and included in the process. area. In other words, the perspective of ‘functional In the Kiruna case, major advocates were external specialisation’ of the landscape (to the left in Figure to the local community. As they did not invest 1) was decentralised and transformed to the local enough effort in building a coalition with strong level in line with a more territorial development. local partners in favour of the proposal, the differ- In all three cases examined here, tourism was ent ecostrategies could not be united. It seems as part of the dominant ecostrategies employed to though multi-level coalitions are key to success in this legitimise protection. Tourism was introduced by kind of processes: the local partners should not the Swedish EPA in both Kiruna and Fulufjället, only represent politicians and minorities, but also while it was a more of a mutual process in include economically strong actors. The work to Funäsdalen. The argument was primarily that the build such coalitions appears to be facilitated by a 356 International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management Tourism and protected areas Zachrisson et al. transparent process where many local voices are of the area. Then you achieve integration between the heard, as indeed happened in Funäsdalen and need of protection and local development which means Fulufjället. that the protection will not be perceived as something This leads to the third central aspect, which is to negative but as an important ingredient to create this realise that processes to designate protected areas development. (A representative from the munici- must focus on how the area can be of value for local pality of Härjedalen.) communities as well as for visitors, i.e. a multiple-use To conclude, this article has illustrated how approach must be adopted. To promote tourism as a different ecostrategies interact to create certain boost for local development and employment outcomes. It has also shown that tourism can be opportunities is only one aspect; it is also essential an important argument for increasing local to find out how local residents already use the area acceptance for the establishment of protected and how they wish to use it in the future. If com- areas, but is not sufficient on its own. How the promises can be found, win–win solutions can tourism argument is perceived at the local level result. 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International Journal of Biodiversity Science & Management – Taylor & Francis
Published: Dec 1, 2006
Keywords: PROTECTED AREAS; NATURE CONSERVATION; TOURISM; RURAL DEVELOPMENT; PARTICIPATION
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