The burgeoning popularity of adventure racing events in national parks is causing increasing environmental concern, says research from Griffith and Murdoch Universities.
This is just one of the topics on the agenda at next week’s two day international symposium People in Parks: Managing the Environmental Impacts of Visitors.
Organised by Griffith University’s Environmental Futures Centre (EFC), People in
Parks will see a host of international and national academics present the latest research on the environmental impacts of visitors in protected areas.
Held from November 14-15, the symposium will showcase the latest research including on managing adventure racing events, their environmental and social impacts and the opportunities they offer.
“Adventure races typically comprise one or a combination of a wide range of outdoor adventure activities from mountain bike riding to skiing, from trekking to abseiling, from kayaking to horse riding. In Australia the common events incorporate orienteering, mountain biking, running, abseiling and rock climbing, canoeing/kayaking racing and horse riding activities,” said EFC researcher
Associate Professor Catherine Pickering.
“In the US, New Zealand and now in Australia there are more and more of these
events. In Australia they extend from the Anaconda Adventure Race in WA to the
Kokoda Challenge in Brisbane. There is a whole calendar of events on the web for most states.
“However, when you have lots of people doing the same thing at the same time in a park there is always going to be the risk of environmental damage.
“When someone is heading for the finishing line after two days of full-on running, swimming and riding, their mind may not be focused on minimising their impacts.
“It would be easy to take a short cut, go off track to get around the people in front
or slide about a bit on a bike when crossing that final creek.
“With good planning, management and careful selection of routes, we can help
reduce the risk of these types of impacts. That way we can enjoy the health and social benefits of this and other fun activities in our park, while conserving these important natural areas.
Additional topics to be covered at the People in Parks symposium will include:
the impacts of camping, hiking, mountain biking and horse riding
managing and minimising impacts from unauthorised recreational activities
adventure events in parks: an emerging challenge
the impacts of recreation activities on aquatic systems: the challenges
less poo in parks: Impacts and management of human waste
trail design and monitoring
recreation and weeds: a noxious nexus
managing urban through to wilderness parks: commonalities and
The audience for this event will include people from local and state government,
parks and other organisations responsible for taking care of our natural