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Parks, people and planning: local perceptions of park management on the Ningaloo Coast, North West Cape, Western Australia

Curtin University of Technology, School of Media, Society and Culture, Dept. of Social Sciences.
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  • Sustainable Management Of National Parks
  • Exmouth And Coral Bay Communities
  • Ningaloo Coast
  • Park Management
  • Community Stewardship Of Parks
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Political Science


Attaining the ‘appropriate’ balance between human use of national parks and their protection is a topic of considerable public, scientific and business interest and is thus an important focus for research. An increasingly affluent and mobile western society has made tourism the world’s largest industry; an industry with a significant reliance on the attractions of protected areas such as national parks and their wildlife. Regional communities have benefited from protected areas through local tourism expenditure and government recognition of the economic and social values realized from protected areas. High levels of visitation, and the management of this human use require effective management. But tensions arise when park managers invoke policies and management prescriptions to mitigate the adverse affects of human use. These actions and the way they are implemented can have an alienating impact on local communities, particularly those with a direct business dependency on park tourism. This thesis explores the notion that truly sustainable management of national parks can only be achieved if park managers and communities living adjacent to parks work together in a partnership to meet each other’s needs and through this process, foster the long-term environmental, social and economic benefits that can be derived from these parks. This thesis documents how a local community perceives its park managers and thereby the impact that park management has on local communities. It then seeks to identify the opportunities for park managers and communities to improve the way they view each other and the skills, attitudes and approaches necessary to create the environment for a sustainable relationship and can deliver sustainable outcomes for both parties.

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