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An analysis of the relationship between the urban based skier and his recreational hinterland Campbell, Colin Kerr

Abstract

The work produced to date in the field of recreation geography has shown a regrettable tendency to place the vacation area at the centre of its research focus. It is the writer's contention that such a bias has led to an imbalance in research which has inhibited the development of an adequate conceptual and methodological framework for the subject. The reasons for the noted trend lie essentially in the ideographic character of previous geographic research, combined with the strong physiographic undertones of the National Park and Conservational Movements in North America. These have asserted the attractive role of the natural resource and have obscured the conditioning effects of socio-economic influences on recreational travel. The present study is an attempt to clarify user-area relationships by highlighting the urban population source and the tangential movements emanating from it. Two aspects of such activity patterns are stressed within the work--those which determine the extent and magnitude of the movement and those which condition its direction. The observations, developed through the adoption of the city based perspective, throw a new light on the nature of spatial interaction between the user and the recreational area. The consequential interrelationships represent the central theme of the thesis and their unity is maintained throughout by a segmentalization based upon static and dynamic relationships. The results of the inquiry would suggest that area selection is conditioned by different factors with added distance from the urban centre. Within the day zone of Vancouver's skiing hinterland, demand is so significant that the minimization of travel time dominates directional movement patterns. With added distance, demand decreases, the travel friction effect becomes proportionately less effective, and a momentum factor is introduced. The consequence is that area selection is increasingly concomitant with area preferences, which in turn may be associated with socio-economic and skill groups. As a result directional movement within the vacation zone is strongly affected by the socio-economic characteristics of the market. Thus a polarization of movement is observed within the vacation zone, based on socio-economic and skill groupings. The passport required to enter this zone of maximum choice is increased skiing skill, partially limited by age, and income factors. Two broad implications are derived from these findings. Firstly an emphasis on area quality or land capability for recreation may only be meaningful for the vacation zone, and then only when it is related to the differing perceptions of various socio-economic groups. Secondly it is evident that distance is not the only control factor which affects demand. A model which merely considers population and distance can scarcely be expected to predict demand accurately. Inputs which account for area quality, accessibility, location within functional zones, and the linkages between socio-economic and mobility factors, will have to be included before accurate prediction is possible. Urbanization is increasing, the work week is decreasing, resulting in recreational congestion and societal frustration. Prediction of demand along with positive planning is necessary. The geographer is in a position to contribute to the solution of this pragmatic problem but first he must break away from the biases of the past. The aim of the present study is to indicate some of the added insights which are available through the altered perspective which asserts the city's position as a node and generator of recreational travel.

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