Mountain biking in peri-urban parks: Social factors influencing perceptions of conflicts in three popular National Parks in Australia
Mountain biking is a popular recreational activity including in protected areas close to cities. Although there has been increased research focus on this topic including mountain bikers’ characteristics such as who, when and where they ride, few studies have assessed why they visit peri-urban parks and their environmental values and perceptions about different recreation activities. We address these issues by surveying mountain bikers in three popular peri-urban national parks in Queensland, Australia. The riders were relatively homogeneous in socio-demographic factors, values and perceptions. They were mainly university educated males aged between 25 and 55 years, motivated by the desire for exercise, who engage in recreational activities and frequently visit the parks. Based on responses to a set of standardized questions relating to environmental values, nearly all riders would be characterized as having ecocentric values, particularly those who frequently visit the parks. They tended to have strongly positive perceptions about the three most popular activities during the survey, i.e. mountain biking (44%), hiking (14%) and running (8%). Overall, they had slightly positive perceptions about other activities such as picnicking, horse riding and dog walking that were uncommon during the survey, but where many riders had interacted with these park users on previous visits. As a result, bikers demonstrate limited interpersonal or social value conflict with a range of recreation activities. Expanding the survey to also (1) assess a wider range of activities such as trail bike riding and four-wheel driving, (2) asking other user groups about their values and perceptions, and (3) assess other locations and times may identify different social acceptability thresholds among park visitors.
Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
Plant Biology not elsewhere classified