Community Development in National Parks

Community Development in National Parks

Project team

Dr. Guangyu Wang

Fangbing Hu, MSc student

1. The tourism impacts of national parks on the local gateway communities

Communities around national parks could benefit from the development of the national park through increased employment, financial gains, infrastructure creation, cultural revitalization, and environmental protection. Gateway communities have specialty and limitation in the degree and direction they can be developed. Adjacent to the scenic area and in the entrance position, the unique opportunities and challenges make the gateway community a key to promote national park branding as well as offer tourism resources. Various studies have identified the mutual impacts between tourism and the local community in protected areas. Similarly, certain models of tourism development of national parks have been developed to understand the residents’ attitudes towards national park tourism impacts. However, the comparison study between gateway communities of national parks is lacking as well as most of the gateway communities didn’t gain enough attention during the rapid growth of national parks. This project aims to understand how national parks could influence surrounding gateway communities by tourism and analyze both positive and negative impact factors of different communities to figure out the current issues in national park gateway communities. Combined with secondary data, identify different community developing phase around national parks, trying to offer management recommendations for gateway community promotion as well as sustainable community tourism management.

2. Evaluate the comprehensive impact of national parks on surrounding communities.

Leading by tourism impacts, national parks have various impacts on surrounding communities including socio-cultural impacts, environmental impacts, economic impacts. By analyzing the data of population structure, industry structure, environmental change, cultural change as well as the local economy, the objective of this study is to build a system to evaluate or calculate the comprehensive impact of a national park. The impact could be calculated through a spatial interaction model adding different significant aspects of the local development and then using the calculated value to evaluate the impact of a national park on surrounding communities. Using the evaluation data, this study will classify the national park developing effects by the interaction type between national parks and communities including backwash effects and spread effects on the surrounding communities. According to the 2 effects that the national parks might produce, hopefully, this project will provide some useful community developing and planning examples for the communities that are near a national park.

Currently, these 2 projects are focus on Banff National Park in Canada and Grand Canyon National Park in the US and will be expanded to more national parks in the future.

Research Contribution

Hu, F., Wang, Z., Sheng, G., Lia, X., Chen, C., Geng, D., … & Wang, G. (2021). Impacts of national park tourism sites: a perceptual analysis from residents of three spatial levels of local communities in Banff national park. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 1-20.

Hu, F. Wu, W. & Wang, G. (2020). Pros and Cons of growing visitation: Gateway community’s view on the national park tourism impacts. Environment, Development and Sustainability. (under review)

Hu, F., Wu, W. & Wang, G. (2020). Exploring the relationship between national parks and gateway communities in North America. (in preparation)