Factors influencing park popularity for mountain bikers, walkers and runners as indicated by social media route data

For most protected areas visitor data is limited, even for popular activities such as mountain biking, walking and running. With the exponential increase in volunteered geographic information, it is now possible to assess visitation to parks by people using social media. The number of routes posted to MapMyFitness, Strava and Wikiloc were used to assess the relative popularity of 40 national parks in South East Queensland, Australia for mountain biking, walking and running. Then, using generalised linear models, the topographic, geographic, management and environmental variables that best predicted park popularity among users were identified. There were more than 450,000 visits to the parks, with 98% of routes posted on Strava. Distance (road and direct distance) from large urban areas best predicted visitation using routes from MapMyFitness and Strava with three parks within 2 km of urban areas experiencing over 70,000 visits (Strava). For urban parks, recreational trail length best predicted usage, while for more remote parks, the direct distance to urban areas remained the most important factor. In contrast, people using the adventure platform Wikiloc preferred more remote parks with rugged terrain. The results highlight factors affecting park popularity including distance. With the expansion and densification of cities, including in Australia, urban and peri-urban parks are likely to experience increasing levels of use for fitness-based activities while more remote parks may remain attractive among people focused on adventure.

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  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01720797
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 29 2019 9:32AM