Swarming to the Summit : managing tourists at Mt Kosciuszko, Australia
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The iconic summer tourism destination in the Australian Alps National Parks is the summit area of continental Australia's highest mountain, Mt Kosciuszko. Currently 70,000 people visit the alpine area during the snow-free period each year, and about 21,000 of these take a day-walk to the summit and back. The environmental impacts of summer tourism include: soil compaction and erosion; introduction and spread of weeds; fecal contamination of lakes and creeks; increased feral animals; and vegetation clearance. The principal management responses have been: hardening of tracks; provision of toilets; education, including minimum-impact codes; and restrictions on activities such as camping in the catchment areas of glacial lakes. Currently, only the access tracks and immediate alpine area around the summit of Mt Kosciuszko receive so many visitors in such a small area. The summit area has become a honeypot focusing tourism and its impacts at one site. Effective management is needed to ensure that the summit along with the rest of the Kosciuszko alpine area remains viable for conservation and outdoor recreation.
Mountain Research and Development
© 2003 International Mountain Society. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version. Originally published in Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 23(3).