The recreational value of the Ruahine Forest Park : a survey to look at the demands and concerns of the users of the Ruahine Forest Park : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Applied Science in Natural Resource Management at Massey University
More knowledge about the users of a park leads to better management. Management systems reflect only what we know about outdoor recreation and recreationists. Part of this comes from research; the rest comes from the experience and value judgements of managers. Research on outdoor recreation is very important and helpful to policy makers, planners and managers of natural resources. The present survey provides data about the demands, concerns and general information about the two biggest user groups of the Ruahine Forest Park. These are the recreational hunters and the trampers, which belong to clubs. 'User groups' can also be defined here as 'resource-based recreationists'. The resource is the Ruahine Forest Park and the satisfaction of the users is dependent on the natural environment of this particular Park. The trends found within the present survey were a high participation of older age groups in the active outdoor activities, an increase in education level by the recreational hunters and an increase in the number of days people spend for hunting and tramping per year. The hunters are mostly concerned about the competition with commercial hunters and about the aerial dropping of poison. This is the main reason for the inconsistent returning of the hunter diaries or kill returns and it shows the distrust towards DoC's management activities. Although, in general, the management of DoC was rated as good to fair, most hunters do not want to provide DoC with much information about deer densities and locations, via hunting diaries. Many respondents of the present survey would like to see more development in the Ruahine Forest Park; these were more long and short tramping tracks, more signs for route marking, and more provision of information. The concerns mentioned by hunters and trampers focused mainly on particular tracks and huts and on the new established standards for facilities and services. The appreciation of the provided facilities differs per user group in importance. However, luxurious huts with gas-heating and gas-stove are not ranked as important by both groups and it seems that the users of the Park are satisfied with the provided facilities present and do not want to see any changes in the amount and status of huts.