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Open AccessArticle

Public Opinions and Use of Various Types of Recreational Infrastructure in Boreal Forest Settings

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Human Dimension Department, Fakkelgården, Lillehammer NO-2624, Norway
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Academic Editors: Bradley B. Walters and Timothy A. Martin
Forests 2016, 7(6), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7060113
Received: 13 April 2016 / Revised: 15 May 2016 / Accepted: 23 May 2016 / Published: 31 May 2016
We have investigated public preferences for use intensity and visual quality of forest recreational infrastructure. Forest infrastructure covers five classes, along a continuum from unmarked paths to paved walkways. Altogether, 39 sites were categorized into the five classes and measured with automatic counters. A sample of 545 respondents living in southeastern and middle Norway were asked to rate 15 forest scenes and 35 preconceptions of recreational settings. The path scenarios were depicted as digitally calibrated photos that systematically displayed physical path feature in boreal, semi-natural settings. Survey participants showed a clearly greater preference for photos and preconceptions of forests settings containing minor elements of forest infrastructure; unmarked paths received the highest score and forest roads/walkways/bikeways the lowest. We identified a clear mismatch between public preferences for forest infrastructure and the intensity of use; the less appreciated infrastructure was the most used. Planning and management has to consider these different needs for recreational infrastructure, and we propose an area zoning system that meets the different segments of forest visitors. View Full-Text
Keywords: aesthetics; preferences; recreation; scenic values; infrastructure aesthetics; preferences; recreation; scenic values; infrastructure
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Gundersen, V.; Vistad, O.I. Public Opinions and Use of Various Types of Recreational Infrastructure in Boreal Forest Settings. Forests 2016, 7, 113.

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