UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Recreational carrying capacity in park planning : the case of Garibaldi Provincial Park Graves, Paul Edwin


This thesis explores Recreational Carrying Capacity (RCC). The investigation looks at the theory of RCC, and trends in recreational use and management to make a first estimate of the RCC of Garibaldi Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada. An extensive literature review is used to synthesize the social, ecological and managerial factors called for in RCC theory; and to summarize relevant aspects of park policy and recreation trends. This review serves as a foundation for adapting a RCC model from the literature. The model is then used to estimate the RCC of the developed backcountry areas of Garibaldi Provincial Park. The emphasis of the thesis is on the ecological component of RCC: a bio-climatic zone inventory, a soil capability survey, and a visual impact assessment are all undertaken to build an estimate of the ecological sensitivity of the study area. The model also uses social influences and BC Parks policy to assist in the formulation of the RCC for the study area. The RCC estimates derived are not precise because of weaknesses in the data base. Nevertheless, the estimates do indicate that the most desirable areas for recreation within Garibaldi Park have reached or exceeded the capability of the biophysical resources of those areas to sustain the recreational activities undertaken. As important as the RCC estimation is the identification of biophysical limitations of the study area. These limitations call for careful site selection in the development and management of Garibaldi Park to protect the biophysical resources which attract recreational use. If the model is to be of greater assistance in park planning and management then more precision is required in the investigation. Increased precision requires dividing the broad bio-climatic zones into sub-zones or micro-zones to allow site and route selection for managing the study area. RCC theory and the RCC model used are useful as planning tools because of the comprehensiveness required by the theory and the explicitness of the values used within the model. However, this comprehensiveness demands a large data base which is not available in the case study of Garibaldi Park. This points to the need for further research if RCC theory and the model used are to be of utility to park planning in B.C.

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